I bet you’ve all been wondering when I was going to announce the featured region for February, right? Well, here we are, at the end of the first week, and I give you: Alsace.
Alsace is a small (the smallest in metropolitan France, which is akin to the lower 48, if you know what that means) region in northeastern France, bordering Germany and Switzerland. The region has bobbled back and forth between France and Germany for most of its history, but has rested with France since 1945. These days, most Alsatians (people, not dogs) speak French, but the German influence remains prominent in the cuisine of the region. Pork and charcuterie are a cornerstone of the traditional dishes, and the Germanic history is evident in the wine varietals used and in the high concentration of regional breweries.
Choucroute and flammekueche are the beacons of Alsatian cuisine, and since I’ve already written about choucroute for this blog, I thought I’d try my hand at a flammekueche. Comprising a thin bread dough spread with crème fraîcheand topped with bacon and onions, flammekueche was traditionally baked among the expiring coals of the day’s bread-baking, giving it a characteristic char on the edges. Not being fortunate enough to own my own wood-fired oven (someday…), I made do with my stand-by pizza dough, and turning my little oven up as high as it goes. I also substituted leeks for the onions, since we had just received another lovely batch in the CSA panier. Simply sweating them in rendered bacon fat before plopping it all onto a round of dough smeared thickly with crème fraîche and topping it with a smattering of grated comté cheese rewarded us with a scrumptious flatbread tart.
I served it with a mâche salad (also from the panier) with a quick vinaigrette. Looks like those French-Germans know what they’re doing when it comes to hearty winter meals.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.