When one receives a bag of chestnut flour – XL-sized mind you! – directly from Corsica, one cannot not open it immediately to let the woody roasted smell escape from the home-made bag and fill the air.
Chestnuts are the base of traditional Corsican cooking: fresh, roasted, boiled or ground. They’re everywhere.
The XL excitement was too much to contain! A gigantic bag of chestnut flour!
I imagine it would be like receiving the iPad 3 before its release!
Picture this: a rustic low-lit kitchen in a stone house in a small mountainous Corsican village.
A flaky chestnut puff pastry is being rolled for the Swiss chard onion turnovers – called bastelle.
Whipped eggs are poured over garlicky zucchinis and tangy brocciu cheese for an omelette sprinkled with a peppery mint.
It’s what I wanted to make and recreate with this bag of flour.
The savory woody taste of chestnut flour mixed in a dough with herbs.
Memories of chestnuts roasting in the communal fire pit sur la place du village surrounded by craggy mountains.
Once upon a time, polenta was made with lupin flour. Now, the chestnut pulenta - as they call it – is on the table at every meal.
Zucchini are most of the time paired with mint and cheese.
Stuffed zucchini. Zucchini omelette. Zucchini bread.
Always a lingering and stimulating cool mint after-thought when finishing the first bite.
And if you’re lucky to put your hand on a batch of peppery Corsican mint, it will not compare to any other mints you might have encountered before.
The galette is even good the day after, reheated for a couple of seconds.
I eat it for lunch or dinner or even as a snack when I cut myself a tiny sliver.
It’s a must-make in my house.
And it brings Corsica in all of its complex flavors on my plate in one dish.
Now if someone would finally import brocciu cheese… let me know if you do!
Rustic Chestnut Crust Zucchini Mint Galette:
for the crust:
1/2 cup (60 g) of whole hazelnuts – to end up with 3/4 cup (70 g) of ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup (60 g) of chestnut flour
3/4 cup (95 g) of white flour
1/2 cup (60 g) of whole wheat flour
3 oregano sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1/4 cup (60 ml) of olive oil
1/2 cup (118 ml) of water
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Lay the whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 min.
With a towel or paper towel, rub the hazelnuts several times to remove the skins. Let cool.
In a food processor, grind the toasted hazelnuts in tiny chunks with the oregano and rosemary leaves.
Do not grind finely – you should still have tiny chunks.
If you are in a hurry and do not have time to toast the hazelnuts, by-pass this whole process and use ground hazelnut directly.
In a big bowl, sieve together the chestnut, white, whole wheat flours and salt. Add the ground hazelnuts and mix. Dig a well in the center and pour the olive oil and water.
Mix delicately with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Flatten the ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 1 hour. If chilled overnight, remember to remove it from the fridge and wait 30 minutes before rolling it.
Note: if you don’t have access to chestnut flour, use another flavorful flour instead like millet or add more whole wheat flour. Chestnut flour has a very strong, earthy and woody smell and taste. You can increase or decrease the chestnut flour measurement and substitute with whole wheat flour depending on the rustic taste you’d like to achieve.
for the caramelized onion:
1 big onion
2 Tbsp of walnut oil
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
Peel and cut the onion in half. Slice thinly.
In a big pan, heat the oil and cook the onion for 35-40 minutes.
10 minutes into the cooking process, sprinkle with sea salt and sugar (optional).
Cook until caramelized. Do not mix too often. You want your onion to brown and stick to the pan a little. But don’t burn it.
Place in a bowl when done and leave to cool.
for the zucchini:
2 zucchini – sliced thinly 3/16″ (4.5 mm)
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 Tbsp of chopped oregano
1 Tbsp of chopped rosemary
In the same pan, heat the oil and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes until tender but still crisp.
Set aside in a colander to drain to juices.
putting the galette together:
You will need the dough, caramelized onion, cooked zucchini as well as
2 oz (56 g) of fresh crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
Roll the dough on parchment paper to a 11-12 in. (28-30 cm) round disc.
It is ok if the edges of the disc are rough. The galette is meant to be rustic.
Place the caramelized onion in the center and spread on the disc leaving a 1.5-2 in. (4-5 cm) border all around.
Sprinkle half of the goat cheese on the onion.
Arrange the zucchini slices around the onion and work circularly to cover the cheese and the onion.
Fold the edges of the dough over the zucchini – create creases if you want to.
Holding the parchment paper on each side, lift and place the galette on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
When done, cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Let the galette cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle it with the rest of the goat cheese, chopped mint leaves and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper before serving warm.