Food Friday: Flammenkueche If You Please
This week for Food Friday we are going to put together a bacon & onion pizza/tart called Flammenkueche. It’s one of my favorite lunch items to serve our guests at the theaters.
Obviously, there are many different toppings one can put on a flat bread like this, but this classic combo, made famous in Alsace, which is on the border of Germany, France and Switzerland is simple and really tasty.
There are a few different components to the dish. We need to start with a good flat bread or dough. There are some really nice pre-made flatbread’s/naan breads out there that you can use for this and there’s no shame in that. I think a fresh made dough, rolled out and grilled off is noticeably better, but it can be time consuming to put that dough together. So feel free to grab one of those pre-made breads from the store and follow the same procedure. Many times, I use a yogurt based naan bread recipe, but it’s a little fussy, and in the spirit of simplicity, I have a straight forward recipe we are going to use today. Of coarse, you may have your own pizza or flatbread dough recipe, feel free to put it to use here. You can find the recipe we used for this rendition here: https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/aspen-2007-grilled-naan
Beyond our dough, there’s also the cheese spread for the base, kind of like replacing the red sauce on a traditional pizza.
Once we put our cheese spread together, then it’s just a matter of topping with some crisp bacon and caramelized onions. There’s a process for both so we can dive in as I lay out the technique below.
For the cheese spread: unlike the recipe for our dough, which is going to be precise, the goat cheese spread that we make for the base of our tart can be very imprecise. I’ve made this dish many times, and probably never the same way twice. Like a batch of chili.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or a food processor. It needs to be spreadable, so if you need to, feel free to add a little more cream or even milk if that’s what is what’s on hand.
4 oz of Goat cheese
2 Tablespoons Burrata or Ricotta cheese
¼ cup fresh shaved shaved parmesan cheese
½ cup Heavy cream
1 oz white wine (optional)
Salt and pepper
For the toppings: Bacon and caramelized onion
Take 5-6 strips of thick sliced bacon and chop into bite sized pieces. Working with a thick bottomed pot/pan, add the bacon over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan leaving the fat behind. Take one onion and cut into slices (Jullienne cut), add the onion to the pan and stir, after a minute or two of working your onions turn the heat on your burner to low. This is going to be where some patience pays off.
Keeping the heat on low, check in on your onions every couple of minutes and give them a stir. Be sure none of them are sticking to the bottom. This process will take a while as we want them to caramelize until they are a deep brown in color. When they achieve the color I’m looking for, I finish by adding a quarter cup of red or white wine, let that reduce to dry and pull your onions out of the pot.
Ok- Now that we have all of our mise en place at the ready, let’s get started.
Fire up your grill, or in my case, my fireplace, and turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Place a baking pan, large cast iron pan or the best baking sheet you have available in your oven to preheat. I have a cast iron flat top piece that I used for this. Either way we want to get it nice and hot as the oven heats up.
If working with a raw dough, roll it out to whatever shape and size fits your needs for the night. It’s a good idea, once your dough is rolled out to spray it with pan spray before we lay it on the grill.
Once the flames of your grill calm down, go ahead and lay your rolled out dough on the grill. It will bubble up after a minute or so, after most of the dough has bubbled up, go ahead and flip it over and grill for another minute or two.
At this point your dough should have a little crisp to it, but still be pliable. Also, at this point your grilled dough is perfect to use as a wrap for falafel, some shaved lamb and tzatziki or whatever sounds good.
For today, we are going to bring our grilled dough inside, smear our cheese spread over the dough leaving ½ inch border on all sides.
Once our cheese spread is down, we can apply our caramelized onions equally over the cheese spread and then our bacon.
Now that we have all of our toppings on, it’s time to move our tart to the oven and in the preheated pan we put in there. All we are trying to do here is crisp up the dough a little more, which is why we want the pan in the oven nice and hot, so maybe 3-5 minutes in the oven and we are good to go. Pull your tart out, along with your pizza slicer, set it on a cutting board and have at it.
The recipe and procedure read much harder than actually making this iconic pie. So give it a go, and like all things, the more you make it, the more fun and better tasting it gets.