Five years into working the typical 40-hour, 9-to-5 job, I’ve come to realize that I am the worst kind of lunch taker there is. If I’m not grabbing an unhealthy-but-conveniently-close lunch with my coworkers, I can often be found having lunch at my desk, hunched over my laptop and eating greasy takeout as quickly as possible so I can stop the rather pointless multitasking. Often times, it’s a 10-minute affair — I rarely ever take the full hour for lunch, even on the occasions I eat with coworkers.
Luckily, my company has a pretty easygoing work-from-home policy. I try to work from home at least once a week; doing so means I’m actually able to get more work done (my office has an open floor plan, which is prime for distractions and interruptions). But during those days, I usually fall into the same patterns as I do at work — that is, eat frantically while glued to my laptop, so I can get back to whatever I’m working on as quickly as possible.
So when I was working from home most recently, I opened my fridge to see if there was anything I could make a quick meal out of. The fridge was pretty empty at that point, containing a few bottles of condiments, a tube of goat cheese, and some Concord grapes left over from when I made this Concord grape cornbread. I wrinkled my nose, thinking that I would have to let my coworkers know that I was running somewhere quick for lunch.
But as I was about to type the message, it gave me pause — why did I need to be in a rush all the time? It was a Friday after all, and Fridays tend to be the days when my coworkers and I took longer lunches. I’d already started my day earlier since I’d literally rolled out of bed, immediately grabbed my laptop and proceeded to get sucked into work emails. Maybe just this once, it was time to take the full lunch hour without worrying about any emails, IMs, and projects.
And so I did. Goat cheese and Concord grapes by themselves aren’t a substantial lunch — but on a buttery, flaky cornmeal crust with a dash of olive oil and pine nuts here and there? It was game time:
This galette, made from the contents of my fridge that day, contain a generous amount of goat cheese and grapes. The galette contains a few dashes of honey, and is topped with a sprig of rosemary and pine nuts to bring it some herby and savory flavors. I also served it with a few sprinkles of fresh cracked black pepper, kosher sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil. And the best part? Because the filling requires so little prep, this galette came together in less than 40 minutes, giving me the full 20 minutes to enjoy it during the rest of my lunch break.
But to be fair, it’s not the sort of meal I would have every day for lunch — it’s a little overly-elegant and insubstantial, the kind of food consumed by “ladies who lunch” with their girlfriends before an afternoon spent shopping for expensive clothes and walking their French bulldogs. I don’t really have that sort of luxurious lifestyle (or aspire to have it, really), but that day, with this galette, I felt like I did.
Some baker’s notes:
- Although any kind of grape could theoretically work for this recipe, I went with Concord grapes because they are smaller and don’t have much of a seed (or at least, not the kind I buy, which are seedless). If you’re using any other kind of grape, be sure to use ones that are smaller (aim for grapes that are slightly bigger than blueberries) and seedless. If you insist on using grapes with seeds, use a cherry pitter to de-seed them and make your life easier!
- If you only have seedy grapes available to you and don’t want to bother with a cherry pitter, note that this recipe works with a variety of different fruits, especially berries — try swapping the grapes with blueberries or raspberries!
- I wrote the recipe for the cornmeal galette dough the way I made it, which was using a food processor. I know that not everybody has a food processor though (and to be fair, I only got my food processor pretty recently), so you can also cut the ingredients together using a pastry blender, two knives, or even your hands. And if you want to see this crust in action elsewhere, check out my recipe for this stunning plum and marzipan galette.
Concord Grape, Honey, and Goat Cheese Galette with Black Pepper
For the Cornmeal Galette Dough
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/4 cup fine-ground cornmeal, plus more for work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup ice water
For the Concord Grape, Honey, and Goat Cheese Filling
(enough for a 9-inch galette)
- 8 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 pound seedless Concord grapes
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- olive oil
- freshly cracked black pepper
- kosher salt
- 1 egg
For the Cornmeal Galette Dough
- Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine, before adding 1/2 cup cubed cold unsalted butter. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds — at this point it’s actually desirable to have a couple pea-sized butter cubes in the mixture. Anything beyond that will make your dough a little hard to work with. With the machine running, pour 1/4 cup ice water through the feed tube in a slow steady stream, until the dough just holds together. DO NOT PROCESS FOR MORE THAN 30 SECONDS, or your dough will be over-kneaded and hard to work with!
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Turn out the dough onto the plastic wrap, and work quickly to bring the dough together into a small mound, handling it as little as possible. When you’ve got a mound (it’s okay to have a couple stray pieces), wrap the plastic around the mound. Flatten with the back of your palm and freeze for at least 10 minutes, until slightly hardened.
For the Filling and Putting It All Together
- Preheat the oven to 375 (F). Prepare a baking tray by lining with parchment paper.
- Dust a clean work surface with a combination of all-purpose flour and cornmeal. Roll out the chilled cornmeal dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. If the dough sticks to the work surface or your rolling pin, freeze for another 5 to 10 minutes or so. Transfer the dough to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl whisk together 8 ounces goat cheese, 2 teaspoon honey, and leaves from 2 springs of fresh rosemary. Spread the goat cheese mixture over the rolled out dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around the circle. Mound 1 pound Concord grapes over the goat cheese, and sprinkle 3 tablespoons pine nuts over the mound. Fold border over the fruit mound, overlapping when necessary and pressing gently to adhere to the folds.
- Crack open 1 egg in a small bowl and gently whisk until the yolk has incorporated into the weights. Brush the crimped border of the galette with the beaten egg.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Once the galette is ready, transfer the baking tray with the galette to a wire rack. Allow it to cool slightly, before garnishing with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Serve warm.