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Caramelize shallots and wrap them in dough

Recipe: Galette a sweet-savory dish for lunch or a side

Skillet with shallots
This is where the magic happens: Shallots cooked low and slow become sweet
and tender. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
I am rich in shallots this weekend, my fragrant harvest from a 4-by-4-foot patch I planted last fall. I usually have one or two shallots in the bin with the onions, but I now have dozens, many sizes.
Before planting something else (I'm thinking winter squash), I wanted to celebrate my shallots with a dish that put them at the center, rather than in the background. I found a galette recipe on the greatbritishchefs.com site than I translated and tweaked for my taste. We devoured it as a light dinner with salad and steamed broccoli, but this galette can go to any meal you'd like.
Using a premade pastry crust speeds the process, but substitute a homemade crust if you prefer. The Pillsbury crusts are great for savory dishes, I've found, but they're a little salty for sweet pies.
Shallots on a cutting board
They're all different sizes, but I grew all these shallots.
And just so you know, shallots caramelized this way are terrific -- they'd make a delicious topping or filling for just about anything: rolled into croissant dough, smeared on bagels, piled onto grilled vegetables,  added to the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
Which reminds me: Cheese. The one mistake I made in putting this galette together was my choice of cheese. The original uses goat cheese, but I DID NOT want to make a run to the store. (Surely you understand.)
So I grabbed some mozzarella that was in the freezer, a remnant from making stuffed shells. The flavor was perfect, but regular mozzarella congeals as it cools, and the galette became a little chewy at the end.
So use a soft white cheese such as goat cheese, FRESH mozzarella, even regular brick cream cheese. The filling will stay soft and the cheese will add just enough background flavor, while the shallots will shine.
Caramelized shallot galette with cheese
Serves 4 to 6
Galette before it's finished
Pile the ingredients in the middle of the crust.
Ingredients :
1 refrigerated pie crust,  for a 9-inch pie
1 teaspoon olive oil
At least 1 cup (and up to 2 cups) trimmed and thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs, divided
4 to 6 ounces soft white cheese, such as goat cheese, fresh mozzarella or regular cream cheese, diced or cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or to taste
1 egg, beaten, for brushing on pastry
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator to allow it to soften. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper or spraying with oil spray.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they are soft and just starting to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine vinegar and the brown sugar, and lower the heat. Cook for at least 5 minutes more, then remove from heat and let the shallots cool while you prepare the pastry.
Galette preparation complete
The crust is folded up, then brushed with beaten egg.
Unroll the softened pie crust onto the parchment paper or greased pan. (If you want, flatten the crust a bit more with a rolling pin, but that's not required.) Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs over the center of the crust, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle most of the cheese over the bread crumbs, then spread the shallots over the cheese. Sprinkle the thyme and the rest of the cheese over the shallots, and finish with the last of the bread crumbs.
Fold the border of the pastry up and over the filling, pleating or tucking as you go. Galettes are supposed to be rustic, so don't worry too much how even it is. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
Finished galette
Baked and ready to serve.
Bake the galette for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and you can hear bubbling from the filling. Cool the galette a minute or two. Slice and serve.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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