Tarte flambée was an instant hit with every visitor we had to Strasbourg. It makes a quick, simple unfussy meal. In its simplest form it is scattered with lardons and onion, and resembles a thin pizza. Originally the dish was conceived by peasants using up any leftover dough, cheese and meat, and the fire oven which was cooling down after a hard day’s work.
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Makes 2 tarte flambées
Homemade pizza dough* or 2 ready-made pizza bases
2 tbsp dollop of creme fraiche
2 tbsp dollop of cottage cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion
around 6 streaky rashers
glass of dry white wine, ideally alsace riesling or pinot blanc
*To home-make the dough, go to (http://www.rte.ie/food/2007/1121/homemadepizzas.html) and make half the pizza dough quantity. You should divide the dough in two, each ball of dough should be roughly the size of a small person’s closed fist.
1. Preheat oven to 220C/450F gas mark 8
2. Slice the onion very finely and leave soak with the white wine in a bowl for at least 15 minutes. Chop up the streaky bacon into thin, matchstick-like pieces.
3. Mix the creme fraiche, cottage cheese, and nutmeg in a bowl until it’s good and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pre-heat a pan to medium-low heat with a small glug of olive oil. Remove the onions from the bowl of wine, pat-dry them on a tea towel and fry them for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile fry the bacon bits for a couple of minutes until cooked. Set aside to cool.
5. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough AS THINLY AS POSSIBLE.
6. Using a spoon spread the cream mixture on the dough as thinly as possible, leaving 1/2 inch all round the sides for crust. You don’t have to use all of the cream! Scatter the onions across the surface, followed by the bacon bits.
7. Drizzle a bit of olive oil all over, then place on an upside-down baking tray (easier to slide on/off) on the 2nd-highest shelf in the oven.
8. Bake for around 10 minutes until golden all over, and crust is starting to blacken nicely.
You should eat the tarte with your fingers like it’s done in the winstubs of the region. Delicious with a crisp, fruity Riesling or Pinot Blanc from Alsace. Also good with a nice simple green salad.