I have made some version of this tomato galette every summer since I moved back to Texas from New York City, and it gets better with each iteration. A couple years ago, I picked up the art of making chhonk, or tempering spices in hot oil, from Priya Krishna's Indian-ish cookbook, and have been working some version of her cumin and chile chhonk into my galette ever since.
I am so happy with the Summer 2021 edition of my tomato galette that I might be ready to stop tinkering. It starts with cooking cumin, coriander and chile flakes in ghee, then adding red or pinto beans and cooking them into a dry paste. The spiced bean paste acts as a frangipane or crumble barrier would for juicy fruit in a sweet galette, and the flavorful liquid from salted, ripe tomatoes rehydrates the beans, which sit atop a layer of sharp cheddar cheese. This big-flavor filling is baked in a flaky butter crust studded with black pepper, making a tomato pie that hits all of my favorite savory highs: tangy, spicy, sharp, cheesy, and flaky.
For a very perfect summer meal, top galette with fresh herbs and a spoonful of labne, mascarpone, or sour cream, and serve with an arugula salad.
Mackenzie Smith Kelley is an Austin-based photographer, art director, and recipe developer.
Recipe: Tomato Galette with Spiced Beans and Cheddar
For the salt and pepper crust:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons sugar
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (depending on how much you like pepper)
1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into slices
½ beaten large egg, cold (save the other half for brushing the crust)
¼ cup ice-cold water
2¼ teaspoons cold apple cider vinegar
For the filling:
½ tablespoon unsalted butter, for the skillet
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1½ teaspoons dried chile flakes
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained, or 1¾ cups cooked red kidney beans, drained
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
Kosher salt, to taste
The Field Method for Cast Iron Care
Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork and knife, cut in the cold butter. Keep cutting and mixing until the mixture resembles coarse sand with larger pebbles of butter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cold liquid ingredients (Using cold liquids ensures that your butter will not melt—another crucial detail for a flaky crust!). Pour the liquid into the flour-butter mixture and combine using a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough is shaggy. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball. Remove ¼ of the dough and save it for another use (it’s great for making hand pies). Wrap the remaining dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make the filling: Lay the tomato slices on a plate and sprinkle one side with salt. In a No.8 Field Skillet, heat the ghee or olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the cumin and coriander. Toast the spices, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the chile flakes. Cook until you can begin to smell the chiles, about 15 to 20 seconds, then add the drained beans and ½ teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and smash the beans with the back of a spatula or a large fork until half of them are mashed. Continue cooking and stirring until the beans resemble a dry paste. Season to taste with salt. Turn off the heat and spread the beans out in the skillet, which will allow the beans to cool and steam to escape. When the beans have cooled a bit, transfer to a bowl and clean the skillet.
Make the galette: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a No.8 Field Skillet. Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the skillet (it helps to fold it loosely into quarters and unfold it into the skillet, or loosely roll the dough over a rolling pin). Gently press the dough into the skillet. Sprinkle the dough evenly with cheddar all the way to the edge. Cover the cheese layer with the spiced beans, which may now be a little crumbly. Arrange the tomatoes, salted side-down, evenly over the beans.
Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt (this seasons both sides of the tomato and makes for a very flavorful juice, don’t skip this step!). Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes and brush with egg wash.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Depending on your oven, this may take more or less time, so check on it periodically and use your intuition. Cool slightly before serving.