Almond pastry galette of spinach, sheep's cheese and aubergine relish with coriander-braised cauliflower green beans and harissa-sweet pepper oil

11 September 2006
Almond pastry galette of spinach, sheep's cheese and aubergine relish with coriander-braised cauliflower green beans and harissa-sweet pepper oil
The almond pastry galette is a cross between the Greek spanakopitta and a millefeuille. The filo pastry can be prepared and part-baked in advance. The cheese and spinach can be mixed together as part of mise en place, but the final assembly and baking must be done to order. The aubergine relish keeps for several days and should be prepared in advance, but it needs reheating. Although it speeds things up to blanch and refresh the cauliflower and beans, they must be braised to order. But the harissa-sweet pepper oil (really a sauce) can be done as part of basic preparation. ### INGREDIENTS For the harissa-sweet pepper oil (this makes about one litre, enough for about 30 portions, but it keeps for several days) 3 red bell peppers 1tbs crushed garlic 500ml olive oil 200ml water Salt 2-3tbs harissa (North African hot chilli pepper paste) For the aubergine relish (this makes about 1.5kg, enough for 30 portions, but it is used in a lunch dish, too. It keeps for a week or longer) 1.5kg aubergines 150ml olive oil 2 large, finely diced onions 70g crushed garlic 1 small bunch of thyme 2tbs cumin seeds 2tbs coriander seeds 1kg chopped tomato 300ml red wine 1tbs tomato purée Salt Chilli (as seasoning only) For the almond pastry galettes (work in units based on one large sheet of filo pastry which makes six galettes, enough for two portions) 1 large sheet filo Clarified butter 4tbs ground almonds For the spinach filling (the quantities below will give two portions and can be multiplied without harming the recipe) 100g spinach, stalks removed 100g fresh sheep's milk cheese (eg, Knockalara) Sea salt and pepper For the braised cauliflower and green beans (it is essential that this part of the dish be prepared to order - serves one) 1tbs olive oil 30g cauliflower florets (blanched for 30 seconds) 30g green beans, sliced or whole according to size (blanched for 30 seconds) 1 pinch coriander seed 1tbs tomato concassé 1tbs finely sliced spring onion Water Salt For the assembly (serves one) 100g sheep's cheese and spinach mixture 3 almond pastry galettes 50g aubergine relish About 40ml harissa-sweet pepper oil Braised cauliflower and green beans (cooked to order) ### METHOD To make the harissa-sweet pepper oil, char the pepper skins under a hot grill for about 15 minutes. Put in a plastic bag and leave for 10 minutes. Peel off the skins and remove seeds and core. Put the peppers, garlic, olive oil and water in a blender or liquidiser. Blend till smooth and emulsified. Season with salt only. Blend in harissa to taste. To make the aubergine relish, chop the aubergines into pieces the size of hazelnuts, toss in 120ml oil and roast in a hot oven (200ºC, gas mark 6) until soft. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a pan and fry the onions. When they colour, add garlic, herbs and spices. Add the tomato, wine and tomato purée. Simmer for 30 minutes until the mixture forms a thick sauce. Season with salt and a hint of chilli. Add the aubergine, bring back to the boil and simmer about five minutes. Leave for a day before reheating to order. To make the almond pastry galettes, cut the sheet into three identical pieces. Brush one with butter. Sprinkle with half the almonds. Cover with a second piece and repeat. Cover with the third piece. Cut into six rectangles. Put on a prepared baking sheet. Bake in a moderately low oven (150ºC, gas mark 3) till pale gold and just crisp (about 15 minutes). Store in a dry place till needed. To make the spinach filling, bring a small pan of water to the boil, add the spinach, blanch for one minute, refresh and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Mix well with cheese and season. To make the braised cauliflower and green beans, heat the oil in a pan and stir-fry the cauliflower and beans for a few seconds. Add the coriander, tomato and spring onion. Continue to stir-fry for a minute more. Add a splash of water and cook till evaporated. Repeat with more water and let the vegetables braise while it evaporates. Add more water if necessary. Season. Turn up the heat at the last moment so the cauliflower starts to colour on one surface. To assemble, spread half the cheese mixture over one galette, the rest on a second. Make a double-decker sandwich of the three galettes and bake for 10 minutes in a low oven (150ºC, gas mark 3). Heat the aubergine. Splash or pour a cordon of sauce on the plate. Pile the aubergine relish in the centre. Lay the almond cheese pastry on top. Arrange the braised vegetables around the pastry.
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