It’s going to take a bit of explaining to tell you how this dish came to be. First, some beautiful, fresh things like purple hull peas, a butternut squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and cherry tomatoes had just arrived from Farmhouse Delivery. If you’ve never tried purple hull peas, they’re similar to black-eyed peas with a slightly milder flavor. When they’re freshly picked, they cook to a nice state of tenderness in about twenty minutes. I’d been holding onto a recipe from Saveur magazine just waiting for some fresh field peas to come into season so I could try it. That recipe was from a story about Senegalese cooking that included dishes made with black-eyed peas, okra, and hot chiles. The recipes were perfectly suited to what grows well here. So, from that story, I wanted to try the Saladu Nebbe which is a black-eyed pea salad with lime juice, parsley, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and habanero. I made it with purple hull peas rather than black-eyed peas. On a completely different topic, I’d also been looking longingly at some little potato galettes from an old issue of Living magazine. I believe the page for these galettes was cut from a 2003 issue and the exact recipe isn’t online, but they’re simple, small rounds made up of very thin slices of potato. I got a crazy idea to try making the same thing with butternut squash instead of potato and then imagined the big flavors of the purple hull pea salad would marry well with a sweet, crispy galette. And, just like that, the dish you see here was created.
I admit the galettes would be easier to make with potato than with butternut squash. The squash slices didn’t stick together while cooking quite as well as potato slices would. After flipping each galette, I did have to push a few squash slices back into place to keep the round shape. I started by peeling a butternut squash and cutting off the straight section. That straight part was cut in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced on a Benriner. Olive oil and butter were heated in a large skillet, and a round galette was formed by layering the squash slices in a circle in the skillet. Each galette was made up of two layers of squash slices. The galette was seasoned with salt and pepper, and a smaller skillet was set on top of the galette to keep it very flat. After a few minutes, the galette was flipped, a few squash slices that slid out of position were pushed back into place, it was seasoned with salt and pepper again, and the small skillet went back on top. For the salad, the purple hull peas were cooked in water for about twenty minutes and then drained and set aside. The dressing was made by whisking chopped parsley and lime juice while drizzling in canola oil. Then, chopped green onion, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and a seeded, finely chopped habanero were combined in a big bowl. The dressing was added, and the salad was seasoned with salt and pepper. After tossing to combine, the salad was left to sit at room temperature for about an hour so the flavors could get acquainted.
This dish might have come about in a less than obvious way, but I was happy with the result. The finished galettes were crispy on the edges, tender in the middle, sweet, and buttery all at once. And, the fresh, bright, and spicy flavors of the salad were a good match. I always find good ideas in my recipe files, and who knows what they'll inspire next.