We’ve been home from Paris for over a month now. I finally stopped consuming whole baguettes and wearing as little makeup as possible, because one day I looked in my American mirror and decided my American face could use a little bronzer. So the kir-colored glasses are off – but what’s left, what I will not leave behind in this country or any other, is bacon.
We enjoyed an inordinate amount of bacon in Paris – but there, it’s mostly seen as lardons. “Lard-on,” I’d say to Josie, pointing to my thighs, “right here. Lard-ON.”
The strips are thick and more like salt pork, less smoky and served in a little chopped heap on every bowl of dressed frisee. You do not see lardons at breakfast – so to get more bacon, you must eat more greens. Genius!
Me and bacon go back a long ways, and like many people, I’d prefer if my alarm clock stopped ringing and started emitting the smell of frying bacon. After a lifelong love affair I’ve finally cut it down, but not out. Here, I did it up right on Bastille Day with Tarte Flambee, also known as Flammkueche – the traditional Alsatian savory tart.
Flammkueche – which is lots of fun to say out loud – literally means “burnt edges,” and after you wash down bacon, onions and cream with a hearty Kronenbourg, you may feel a little rough around the edges yourself. But you’ll sleep with a great big strip of a smile.
Bacon and onions. Smells so heavenly it’s like sizzling Prozac.
So…I didn’t use 3 ounces of bacon, as listed in the recipe. I used something like one strip of regular bacon and two slabs of pepper bacon. Is that so wrong?
Let’s just move on.
Roll out your dough, mix the caramelized onions with the creme fraiche and spread. A word of warning: the onion-cream mixture will taste suspiciously like high-end Lipton’s Onion Dip. Resist the urge to reach for the Ruffles.
1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough, risen and ready
time-saver: try using good-quality frozen bread dough, thawed and ready to roll
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion (3 ounces), finely chopped
1 cup crème fraîche, commercial or homemade*
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 pinches nutmeg
3 ounces bacon, cut into matchsticks
If you’re using fresh pizza dough, mix dough and allow to rest. (if you’re using thawed pre-made bread dough, just have it ready to roll)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring to golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Combine the crème fraîche, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooled onion.
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and fry the bacon to lightly browned, stirring constantly. Remove and drain.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Lightly oil a baking sheet of approximately 14 x 16″. Roll the dough to slightly smaller than the sheet, then place it on the sheet. Spread the onion mixture over the dough, leaving a very small raised rim all the way around, then dot with the bacon.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is lightly browned.
*to make your own crème fraîche: combine 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons buttermilk, stir, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, or until it has become very thick. Refrigerate, and it will become even thicker.
adapted from traditional recipes