Galettes de blé noir

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Nolwenn galettes 1.png

This recipe was written and sent by Nolwenn Saläun.

“I have always called Galettes ʻcrêpes-blé noirʼ, though ʻcrêpesʼ are thinner, mixing buckwheat and plain flour. Months ago, years ago? My mum sent me half of her pack of buckwheat flour. I bumped into it while desperately investigating the depths of my food cabinet (distancing brought me closer to my back cupboards). As advised by a dear friend, I followed this sign and reconnected with my roots. I made buckwheat galettes, des “galettes blé noir“. Galettes are a good friend to host any leftover ingredient. No need of egg nor milk: it is the beauty of this ʻpoorʼ dish.”

Nolwenn Saläun

About Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

Nolwenn galettes 2.jpg

Despite it’s name, Buckwheat is not related to wheat and it is not part of the grass-family like any other popular cereal. Buckwheat is the “dark horse” among grains — a pseudo cereal more commonly associated with Northern France (Brittany) where it is used to make galettes and Japan where they make Soba noodles with it. Buckwheat can be used in a wide range of pastries, pasta dough, bread or cooked as a grain like would cook rice — its flavor gets elevated with a delicious nutty flavor once cooked or roasted. For some recipes which call on the use of a flexible paste, a bit of wheat flour is often added to buckwheat because it lacks gluten — which makes it delicate though fragile.

Another reason why you should consider this humble crop a “kindred" ingredient in your pantry is that it has several beneficial qualities both for the biosphere and the ecosystem of the soil.

Soil benefits: Buckwheat’s dense and fibrous roots cluster in the top 10 inches of the soil, providing an extensive root surface area for nutrient uptake. This feature allows it to thrive in poor soils in which other crops would struggle in. Buckwheat is a phosphate scavenger, an essential nutrient that other plants have a harder time accessing in the soil. Buckwheat is also a weed suppressor, which makes it a popular crop and cover crop when used in organic systems, as the need for machine-weeding is reduced.

Ultimately, as buckwheat is not from the same family as other popular grains, growing it adds to the diversity and resiliency of farming systems using crop rotation methods. Unlike other cereals, Buckwheat is a flowering crop which attracts several beneficial insects and pollinators such as: hover flies (Syrphidae), predatory wasps, minute pirate bugs, insidious flower bugs, tachinid flies and lady beetles.

The recipe

Nolwenn cooking her galettes

Ingredients

For approximately 8 galettes:

  • 200g of buckweat flour (preferably made in Bretagne)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50ml of water
  • A sip of local beer or dry cider (if desired)

For the filling:

  • Cheese finely grated
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 leek finely chopped
  • A pinch of spice of your choice
  • A pinch of black pepper

Process

For 8 galettes:

  • Assemble 200g of flour, a touch of salt and 50mL of water to produce a rather liquid batter.
    For those who need a pretext to open a beer, you can add a sip of it in your preparation.
  • Leave to cool in the fridge for 1 hour to 1 night.

In the meantime prepare the filling

For the filling:

  • Finely chop the onion and the leek. You can use as much onion as you like, I used 1/2 of a big one for 1 leek.
  • Grate the cheese[1].
  • Fry the onions and leek, reserve for later.

When ready to compose, prepare your pan.

Making the galette:

  • Take your out of the fridge.
  • Heat your pan[2], grease[3] it.
  • Fill the 3/4 of your ladle (depending on the capacity of your pan)
  • Quickly but softly pour the dough in the pan, in a circular motion.
  • Handle the pan in the same way to spread the dough, circularly and equally.
  • Let it heat a bit, had the cheese, let it heat up a bit, add the onions and leek.
  • Let the crêpe form frim up and then fold at your convenience
  • Add a pinch of pepper
  • Serve the first lucky guest.

Bon apétit mes chéri.e.s.

Related images

Notes

  1. Emmental or any other leftover cheese in your fridge. We Bretons, like cultural frictions so I used the end of my Parmesan
  2. The best pan is a large flat pan with narrow edges
  3. Any greasy substance will work to grease the pan, I used salted butter