smoked ham and emmental galette

Galette, or more properly Breton galette (Galette Bretonne), is a type of large, thin pancake mostly associated with the region of Brittany, where it replaced at times bread as basic food, but which today is eaten across the whole of France. Buckwheat was introduced as a crop suitable to impoverished soils and buckwheat pancakes were known in other regions where this crop was cultivated, such as Limousin or Auvergne.

It is a most versatile dish, frequently garnished with egg, meat, fish, cheese, cut vegetables, mushrooms, apple slices, berries, or similar ingredients. One of the most popular varieties is that given here, a galette covered with Emmental cheese, a slice of ham, and, optionally, an egg cooked on the galette. In France, this is known as a galette complète (a complete galette). Another variety is a hot sausage wrapped in a galette (called galette saucisse, a tradition of Rennes, France) and eaten like a hot dog. Of course, being traditionally Breton, you need to eat it served with cider.

Galettes can be made quickly and simply, and are a great dish to have in your repertoire for unexpected guests. You could prepare a stack of galettes in advance ready to fill, but they don't take long to cook anyway, and one of my most memorable galette moments was when I took my family to Carnac in Morbihan, where we found the most stupendous little café serving only galettes...we were really spoiled for choice.


·         250g buckwheat flour

·         1 egg

·         500ml water

·         2 tsp olive oil

·         1 tbsp salt

·         2 slices of ham

·         grated Emmental or other hard cheese


1.       Separate the egg yolk from the white.

2.      In a large mixing bowl add the egg yolk to the buckwheat flour, oil and salt.

3.      Start adding enough water to mix to a firm batter, when the batter is smooth with no lumps incorporate the rest of the water.

4.      In a small bowl whisk the egg white until it is peaking.

5.      Gently fold into the batter and leave to rest for at least an hour.

6.      When you are ready to cook your galettes, pre-heat a large non-stick frying pan (preferably a crepe pan) until it is very hot but not smoking, and pour a120ml-ladle full of mixture into your pan. Tip the mixture around until it covers the pan evenly.

7.      When the edges are starting to lift up from the pan, flip the galette over. Lay a wide strip of smoked ham (about 7cm wide) down the middle and then sprinkle with Emmental cheese. When the sides are just browning fold the two edges over the ham and cheese and continue to cook for another minute or two. Turn over and cook for another minute or so until the cheese is all melted.

8.      Transfer to a pre-warmed oven dish and keep in the oven on a low temperature (around 120°C/250°F) while you cook the other galettes.

A Walnut Grove recipe, reproduced with permission.


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