With harvest in the northern hemisphere underway, we asked vintners to share their favorite fall recipes. In our first installment of this three-part series, we checked in with Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, Calif.
"Last week, we got into the thick of it," says Brian Cakebread, president and COO of Napa's Cakebread Cellars—the "it," of course, being the harvest of the winery's grapes, which began Aug. 26 with rows of Sauvignon Blanc. Despite the uncooperative weather that has plagued California vintners through the growing season, he reports that their harvest is progressing smoothly so far. Still, a lot of grapes remain on the vines and anything could happen, he notes: "It's like we're in the first two innings of a baseball game."
While all eyes are on the vines, a harvest of a different sort is underway as well. "In the vegetable garden, tomatoes are just beginning to come in," says Cakebread, noting that the bounty from this shoulder season feels a bit like cheating the natural order. "We're in the transition: the end of summer for the garden, but moving into fall. It's the best of both worlds."
Make the most of the warm weather’s last hurrah with this recipe for a galette stuffed with tomatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese and Niçoise olives from Cakebread's culinary director, Brian Streeter. This savory rustic tart has a minimal list of components but the combination of the rich, buttery crust, salty olives and the natural sweetness of the onions and tomatoes packs a lot of flavor. (Short on time? Use premade piecrusts.)
It tastes best right out of the oven, but make it ahead of time and reheat if you’ve got guests coming over and don’t want to fuss. Serve with a salad of raw baby zucchini or yellow squash sliced into paper-thin rounds and dressed with good olive oil and salt. Streeter pairs this dish with Cakebread's Sauvignon Blanc, which has acidity to cut through the flaky pastry but also is fruit-forward enough to stand up to the tomatoes.
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 6 oz. (1 ½ sticks) of cold, unsalted butter, diced
• 2 tsp. salt
• ½ cup ice water
• 3 onions, sliced thinly
• 1 ½ cups (around 4 or 5) plum tomatoes, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup Niçoise olives, pitted
• 4 oz. goat cheese
• 1 bunch of fresh thyme
• 1 egg
• Olive oil
1. Make the galette dough: Place the flour, butter and salt in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until the butter is the consistency of large peas. With the machine running on low, add just enough water for the dough to come together into a shaggy ball. Divide into two and pat into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
2. Make the onion confit: Place the onions in a wide-bottom saucepan with two tablespoons of olive oil, two sprigs of thyme and salt to taste. Place the pan over medium heat and cook covered until onions are wilted and stewing in their own juices. Remove the lid and continue cooking until dark in color. Reserve.
3. Make the tomato mixture: Place a saucepan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic and cook to soften. Add the chopped tomato, two thyme sprigs and salt to taste and cook until it reaches a thick sauce-like consistency, stirring occasionally.
4. Assemble and bake the galette: Preheat oven to 400° F. To assemble, remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 8-inch to 9-inch disk. Repeat with the other dough. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and trim off the ragged edges to form a circle. Divide the onion confit between the two disks. Spread to an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all the way around. Top with spoonfuls of the tomato mixture, the olives, additional thyme leaves and crumbled goat cheese. Fold the edges of the dough over to partially cover the filling. Brush the outside of the pastry with the beaten egg. Place in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to resting rack to cool. Cut into wedges and serve. Serves 4.