Regional French Cuisine: Alsace: Flammekueche

6 02 2009

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.

Flammekueche, fresh from the oven

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.

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6 responses

7 02 2009
Loulou

Onions, bacon and crème fraîche. Doesn’t get much better than that!
This is one of our favorites.

8 02 2009
Sam

Now this one I must try, everything about sounds so delicious!

9 02 2009
croquecamille

Loulou and Sam – It’s a winner, all right!

19 02 2009
Typical French Food

[...] Regional French Cuisine [...]

23 03 2009
NWHiker

I came here and saw the first of the Alsace posts -ok, fine, the last!- and really really hoped there would be more and that one of them would be this one.

So yay!

I’ve made it a few times, but it still wasn’t quite right… As I read through your version, hey, new thing to change: the cheese. I’d been using a mix of gruyere and emmenthal, but the comté sounds like something I must try.

Thanks!

24 03 2009
croquecamille

Glad I could help! The ones I had in Strasbourg were topped with more crème fraiche than anything, and it tasted like they seasoned it with a bit of nutmeg. Cheese on top was an option, and I like it better that way.




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