Monday, June 11, 2007

Yam and Leek Galette

Let me start this out by saying,
yams = white
sweet potatoes = ORANGE
Honestly, I'm not making this up.

The misunderstanding between yams and sweet potatoes really irks me. For a long time I had no clue which was which or how they were different - I never really cooked with either of them, so my experience was only in restaurants. "Yam" fries (which are always sweet potatoes), "yam" tempura (sometimes yam, sometimes sweet potato), candied "yams" that you eat at family holiday dinners (again, sweet potato). Anyway, up until I made this recipe I was unclear and consistently confusing myself in the yam vs sweet potato debate.

After I had gone on a researching craze to find out which foods are healthiest, I decided that I would try to replace regular potato with sweet potato as often as possible. Well I must admit, only partly for health reasons, and partly for its extremely yummy taste. (Sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C.) Thus when I found a recipe for a leek and potato galette, I immediately wanted to use sweet potato instead. Sadly what I had were deceptive yams, so I don't think this galette was nearly as good as it could've been.

I've seen a few recipes for galettes (which you really don't need a recipe for) and really wanted to try making one. They're easy to make but it's a bit time consuming to thinly slice a ton of potato (thank you mandoline). I wasn't really happy with the flavour of this galette, due to the use of evil yams and Gruyère cheese. I think this was my first time trying Gruyère and I'm not sure I like the flavour - I'll have to try it again. Despite all this, I love what a galette is - "round and flat crusty cakes". My ideal galette, which I'll definitely be making in the future, will be real sweet potato, caramelized onions (which I hope don't end up burning in the oven, but they shouldn't), and I'm undecided on the kind of cheese (maybe Asiago or my favourite aged white cheddar?) Throwing some thinly sliced carrots in there might be interesting too. You can use this recipe as a guide for putting together whatever kind of galette you want! I think it's meant to be a side dish, but I ate it with salad for dinner.

Yam and Leek Galette
Adapted from Everyday Food, April 2007

6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 pounds (about 2 medium sized) yams, peeled
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 leek, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced crosswise, well washed
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack set in top third. Line bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with a round of parchment paper. Place melted butter in a large bowl. Using a mandoline or cutting by hand, slice the yams 1/8 inch thick; add to bowl with butter. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. In prepared pan, arrange some of the yams around edge of pan, overlapping the slices.

2. Fill center of pan with more overlapping slices. Sprinkle with half the leek and half the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of yam and remaining leek and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining yams. Using a spatula, press galette down firmly.

3. Bake until yams are tender, 70 to 80 minutes, pressing down firmly twice with a spatula during cooking. Run knife around edge of pan. Carefully invert galette onto a plate, remove parchment, and reinvert onto serving plate. Cut into wedges, and serve.

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