This, my fellow pirates, was EASY and DELICIOUS. Wow…this recipe showed up in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks back (don’t judge; pirates need their financial news…) and I thought “huh…that’s one I might try.” They tend to have very complex recipes, or require crazy exotic ingredients that my truffle-oil-soaked co-pirate might have, but I surely won’t source. But this one I could handle, with a few modifications (simplifications) for the galley. And it turned out to be a fantastic fix on a not-quite-as-autumn-as-we-wished October evening when it was still in the low-80s at sunset.
Amazingly, we got to start with a rollicking sail! I mentioned we’ve been longing for autumn…that’s because summer here on the Gulf Coast is like winter was in the mid-Atlantic; you put the boat up for those three abominably hot, humid, still-except-during-hurricanes months and count the days until the cool weather of October arrives. October 1 we RAN down to the waterfront and … still fairly hot, still pretty windless. But it was October, dammit…we deserved a sail, so to the marina! A mile down the bayou we headed out past the breakwater and BAM we had 15 knots. Happy skipper, relieved Pirate — the galley is even more unpleasant during summer than topsides.
Bacon and Sweet Potato Galette
One package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
1/2 – 3/4 cup bacon jam, or 4 strips uncooked bacon
Two medium sweet potatoes
1/2 red onion
6 oz strong but semi-soft cheese like Manchego or Smoked Gouda
Fresh or dried thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
Heat your galley oven to 375 degrees.
So here’s the first “modification” to the published recipe: their’s used one of the two pastry sheets; I was not about to keep an extra pastry sheet around in the icebox and saw no reason leftovers wouldn’t make a good breakfast. I suppose this would make a nice companion recipe to my co-pirate’s bacon, date and blue cheese pinwheels if you had only used one pastry sheet there. As it was, a fellow sailor joined us for dinner; if you use one pastry sheet, it feeds two hungry sailors and you should halve the other ingredients above.
Here’s the second modification: their instructions were to lay the pastry sheet on a lightly-floured surface and roll it out to 12″ square (the sheet as packaged is 10″x15″). That was too long on one dimension and too short on the other for my oven’s full-sized baking sheet, and I had no appetite on a hot-galley night for floured surfaces, so … I just cut the overage off one edge and pinched it onto the other to fill the sheet, as you see above. Line the sheet with parchment paper first if you have it — it really helps to crisp the bottom.
Here’s the third modification: in the recipe, they put the sweet potatoes straight on the pastry, topped with onions, and then just cut a strip of bacon into 1/2″ slices and sprinkled them over the top. Certainly, in the absence of simply having bacon jam around already, this is easier, so by all means…I would double it to two strips per galette; and you put the pieces on raw — they cook during baking. But if, as was the case for this lucky pirate, you have bacon jam on hand, the caramelized onion and sweetened bacon really works nicely.
Somewhat carefully, so as not to tear the pastry, spread the bacon jam evenly over the pastry sheet.
Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/8″ rounds.
Slice the red onion thinly and — a stowaway! — the cutest little leftover fairytale eggplant you’ve ever seen. Why not.
Layer the potato slices like shingles over the pastry, leaving a 1/2″ – 3/4″ edge uncovered. This will puff up into a crust of sorts surrounding the fillings.
Sprinkle the onion and, if you have them, eggplant slivers over the potatoes. Salt and pepper the vegetables lightly. You might also sprinkle your thyme leaves (a couple of teaspoons of fresh, or 1/2 teaspoon dried) over the vegetables now. I forgot, so I put them on top of the cheese when it went into the oven and it was fine…but I suspect the thyme might sink into the vegetables better if put on now before the long bake.
Another modification (I’ve lost count): the recipe had you bake the galette just as is, above, with just vegetables, for 20 minutes and then break an egg in the middle and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Captain Peter is not a big fan of eggs in any recognizable form (i.e. they need to be scrambled with a lot of salsa, or baked into a cake) so that was a no-go. My answer, a good strong cheese. In this case, I had a bit of Manchego and Smoked Gouda leftover, so I did one galette with each; both delicious. Reverting to recipe directions, bake the galette with just the vegetables for about 20 minutes, until the pastry puffs and just begins to brown, then grate the cheese over the top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so to melt.
If your galley oven is like mine, it will handle one galette at a time. While the first is baking, you can assemble the second on parchment paper and just slide them to change places when the first comes out.
You’re in for a treat, pirates! I served this with a lovely autumnal spinach salad to rave reviews.
Oh, and feel free to pair with matching orange and purple end-of-the-season zinnias, if you can keep them upright during the sail!
Bacon and Sweet Potato Galette
- 1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
- 2/3 cup Bacon jam, or 4 strips uncooked bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 Medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 1/2 Red onion
- 6 oz Semi-soft cheese, like Manchego or Smoked Gouda
- Fresh or dried thyme leaves
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375º
- Line a cake pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper
- Roll pastry sheet to fit pan and lay on the parchment paper.
- Spread the bacon jam, if using, evenly over the pastry sheet.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/8" rounds. Slice the red onion into thin slices.
- Lay the potato slices on top of the bacon jam, overlapping slightly. Leave 1/2-1" around the edge.
- Scatter the onions on the potatoes and sprinkle with thyme leaves. If using bacon instead of jam, sprinkle over potatoes.
- Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and lay on the shredded cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Slice and serve!