American

Meyer Lemon Galette With Sautéed Greens, Rainbow Carrots & Sweet Potato Mash

October  5, 2020
3 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

The over-crowded bookcase above my mother’s kitchen desk did not discriminate between healthy cooking and indulgence. Adele Davis’ no-nonsense Let’s Eat Right To Keep Fit cozied up alongside James Beard’s Fireside Cook Book and Julia Child’s butter-stained Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Published in 1970, Davis’ timeless reference guide to nutrition served more as a suggestion and less as an ultimatum. My mother’s casual promotion of health food to a family devoted to lofty cakes and lattice-topped pies, aligned with my father’s dictum to diet and exercise. “Everything in moderation,” he would remind us after his morning jog, slicing off a small triangle of apple pie for breakfast and pouring himself a second cup of coffee from the Chemex. One might say my mother was a thin-shelled health food nut, while my father was a tough nut to crack.

My mother’s interest in diet and nutrition stemmed from both her upbringing and her education. The daughter of a dentist, she enjoyed a lengthy career as a dental hygienist, admonishing us to brush our teeth and floss regularly. As children, a visit to my grandfather’s office overlooking Bryant Park, was a healthy contradiction. Armed with new toothbrushes and pocket-sized tubes of toothpaste, we paused by a behemoth glass jar on my grandfather’s desk to pluck a handful of cello wrapped candies. Planting a good-bye kiss on his cheek, we headed to Katz’s for hot dogs washed down with Dr. Brown’s cream soda.

Even at the height of the health food craze, my mother’s approach was far from a religious pursuit, more akin to a hobby. Most mornings, she orchestrated four brown bag lunches. Even though her valiant attempts to coax us towards whole grains fell flat, I had to applaud her tenacity. She was subtle, sandwiching peanut butter or cream cheese or egg salad between two slices of whole wheat bread, cut on the diagonal. We pleaded for pedestrian white bread instead. She reluctantly obliged with multi-grain bread which was lighter on the wheat, adding an apple or a small box of Sun-Maid raisins for good measure.

Lunch wasn’t the only meal exposed to a healthy upgrade. The Tupperware turntable in our kitchen cabinet designated to vitamins, flax seed, oat bran, and banana chips also housed unsweetened breakfast options. Spinning the turntable unleashed a waft of health-food-store-Brewer’s yeast that we considered toxic. Avoiding that turntable like the plague, Grape Nuts and Shredded Wheat were as far as we dared stray from sugar-kissed cereals.

When carob chips and honey were touted as healthful baking substitutes, my mother combed through a stack of glossy food magazines until she found a recipe for carob chip cookies. The results were underwhelming at best, reinforcing Toll House morsels as a pantry staple. The lackluster cookies enjoyed a field trip to science class and a little extra credit for the baker; my mother was thrilled.

The 1970s and '80s introduced consumers to kitchen gadgets that encouraged nutrition. New appliances intrigued but left my brothers, sister, and I nonplussed. The peanut butter spinning out of the Salton peanut butter machine was tasty but not sweet enough. The thermostat controlled yogurt maker produced five tangy portions yet severely lacked fruit on the bottom. We balked; my mother persevered. Although the counter-top bread machine turned out crusty loaves of multi-grain, slices dunked in skim milk were a far cry from challah French toast doused in Vermont maple syrup.

Adele Davis encouraged fresh juices, prompting the purchase of a juice extractor. It wasn’t unusual to wander into the kitchen and witness a scene reminiscent of Muppet Labs. Strewn across the Formica countertop was a riot of carrots, apples, crimson beets, and knobs of fresh ginger. Standing at the helm was my mother, guiding the fruit and vegetables as they tumbled headfirst down the chute of the extractor. When offered a juice glass of the health tonic, I politely declined. My mother declared it, ‘out of this world’ while my father opted instead for a dry martini with an extra olive.

I did share, however, my mother’s passion for lemons, both the thick-skinned grocery store variety and the elusive thin-skinned Meyer lemon. Squeezed over ice cubes in tall glasses or bobbing in a cup of hot water, we drank these beverages in lieu of coffee after dinner. In her classic yin and yang philosophy of sharing, my mother reminded me that lemons eroded tooth enamel but were packed with antioxidants.

Circling the dining room table nightly provided an opportunity to over-share the day’s events, fill (and refill) our dinner plates, eating just enough vegetables to ensure smooth sailing to dessert. My mother’s attempt to replace white macaroni with whole wheat was almost as dire as introducing brown rice instead of white. The dinner table mutinies were blissfully short lived. “Your father prefers regular spaghetti,” my mother assured me as she squeezed fresh lemon juice over a bowl of whole wheat pasta salad.

For a very brief period, I encouraged my mother to enroll in an aerobics class and promised to join her. With Billy Joel’s greatest hits pouring out of a boom box, our blindingly white sneakers zigged instead of zagged across the floor, turning to the left when the rest of the class was turning right. Desperately trying to avoid facing the wall of mirrors, we laughed more than we aerobicized. Class concluded with a series of cool down stretches and shoulder rolls. As Barry Manilow crooned “I can’t smile without you,” we decided he could, making a beeline for the car. We stopped for frozen yogurt on the way home. —Ellen Gray

  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Makes 1 galette
Ingredients
  • Sautéed Greens
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (preferably Vidalia), finely chopped
  • 4 large rainbow carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, or some combination), washed well, tough stems removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • Sweet Potato Mash
  • 12 ounces sweet potatoes (about 1 large sweet potato), peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Galette Crust
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) white-whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) oat flour
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick / 113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
  • 1 small Meyer lemon, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette (adapted from Leslie Mackie)
  • 1 tablespoon Kozlik’s Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the greens:

    In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and diced carrots, cooking until tender (about 8 minutes), then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Transfer the onion/carrot mixture to a large heatproof bowl.

    Add the greens and the Meyer lemon juice to the sauté pan, cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes, just until wilted and bright green. (If your sauté pan can’t accommodate all of the greens, cook them in two batches.) Remove from heat, add to the sautéed onion/carrot mixture; season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. For the sweet potato mash:

    Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a fork to pierce the sweet potato several times. Set potato on the baking sheet and bake until tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Once removed from the oven, set aside until cool enough to handle.

    Once the sweet potato has cooled, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the Meyer lemon juice, butter, salt, and pepper; use a potato masher or fork to mash the potato. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. For the crust, and assembling the galette:

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add ¼ cup of ice cold water, tossing the mixture with a fork, then adding just enough additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture holds together when pinched.

    Gather the dough together, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

    On a sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with cornmeal, roll out the dough into a circle approximately 14 inches in diameter and ¼” thick. Gently transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the sweet potato mixture onto the center of the dough, using a small offset spatula to cover the dough, leaving a 3” border. Place the cooled vegetable mixture on top of the sweet potato mash.

    Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, tucking and folding the dough to create a pleated edge. Seal the edges by gently lifting each of the folds and brushing the underneath with egg wash. Brush the top of the galette with egg wash and tuck a circle of Meyer lemon at each pleat.

    Place the baking sheet with the galette in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the galette on the center rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes before slicing.
  4. For the Meyer lemon vinaigrette:

    As the baked galette is cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, red wine vinegar, Meyer lemon juice, honey, zest, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, stirring until the dressing has emulsified. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. For serving:

    Serve the cooled galette with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

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