I'm feeling rather proud of the fact that for the first time in my life, i've managed to grow capsicums. The capsicums weren't as prolific as the chillies were - about 5 useful capsicums from 6 plants, but still, i count it as a success. I used two of the capsicums green, in the gazpacho i made a while back; one capsicum was used at the greeny-orangey stage, as i could see it was beginning to rot at the base, so picked it while it was still usable. The last two capsicums reached the glorious shiny red that all capsicum growers must surely aim for.
Two lovely red, ripe home-grown capsicums called for a special dish; one that celebrated the capsicum, without requiring large numbers of them. Luckily i'd been eyeing up just such a recipe in my hand-written notebook. This recipe started life as "Goat Cheese and Olive Galette", and required a single red capsicum; i made a few tweaks and had the perfect dish with which to honour my capsicums. I'm pretty sure the original recipe was from a NZ House and Garden magazine, from quite a few years ago - that particular recipe notebook was started in 2006, and the recipe is near the start of the book.
As with most of my recipes, you can take this one in a number of directions - you could make it more about the tomato, vary the type of cheese used, vary the herb of choice and so-on (although i have to say that the fresh thyme is very nice!). The original recipe called for a teaspoon of dried thyme, but i prefer to use fresh herbs whenever possible. I have a lovely herb garden, so seldom resort to dried herbs. If you wish to substitute dried herbs for fresh, just remember that a teaspoon of dried herbs is roughly equivalent to a tablespoon of fresh herbs - in general the dried version is much more potent.
I did make a variation of this recipe recently, where the feature was (surprise!) cherry tomatoes - those of you who have been following this blog will know i have had a real glut of cherry tomatoes, and in fact am still making the odd cherry tomato dish. Because i was in a bit of a rush that day, i used a sheet of ready rolled flaky-puff pastry from the freezer. The result tasted lovely, but did not hold its shape so well. A successful galette really requires a short pastry, such as the one provided in the recipe below. If you want to use flaky pastry i suggest making it as an open pie in a flan dish or similar.
CAPSICUM, FETA and OLIVE GALETTE
1.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g cold butter
1/2 cup cold milk
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 red capsicums, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
12 black or kalamata olives
50-100 g feta
salt and pepper
Cube the butter, process with the flour and baking powder. Mix the milk and vinegar together and add to the processor bowl. Process in brief pulses until it looks like breadcrumbs that will just form a ball when gently squeezed. Press the dough into a ball, flatten, wrap loosely and refrigerate while making the filling.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Heat the oil in a large frypan. Add onion and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the capsicum, tomatoes and thyme and cook 5 to 6 minutes longer until the capsicum is soft and the tomatoes are losing their shape. Remove from the heat and season to taste.
Roll out the pastry to form a round 45-50 cm across, on a paper-lined oven tray. Spread the filling over the middle 30 cm or so, then sprinkle with olives and cubed cheese. Fold the uncovered pastry edges towards the centre and pinch together at intervals (it should not cover the filling).
Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Allow to cool several minutes before serving.