A matter of geography

February 10, 2011


An onion pizza by any other name....

Depending upon where you cook it, this is either:

(a) Flammenkuche

(b) Tarte Flambe

(c) Flammkuchen

(d) Pissaladiere

What it is, is, a base of, essentially, pizza dough, with caramelized onions atop it. If it’s a pissaladiere, it has the olives, like this one, but also has anchovies. If it’s one of the other three, it has creme fraiche stirred into the onions before they go on the dough.

The Pissaladiere is from Provence, in southeastern France. The other three are from the Alsace (flammekuche)-Lorraine (tarte flambe) region of France, or neighboring Bavaria in Germany (flammkuchen), all kinda due north of Provence.

This one is a sort of split-the-difference version. It has the onions and the olives, but no anchovies, as I am trying to gin up enough culinary courage to try anchovies. It doesn’t have the creme fraiche, but I did put some grated Parmigiano on it, thus sticking another dot on the map and creating a triangle that extends down into north central Italy.

Perhaps I will call it the Mussolini.

I love the cuisine of this part of the world. Cheese, olives, wonderful cured hams, (damn, some proscuitto would have been wonderful on this, had I not used it all earlier this week) (and can I just tell you, wrapping asparagus in proscuitto and baking for 10 minutes at 400 is just a wonderful, wonderful thing), great tomato sauces, pasta, polenta, seafood, good Bavarian beer, wonderful sausages….and I haven’t even been there. But I’m gonna go. It’s like the culinary center of the world in my book.

Yes, one of these days, I’m going to land at Gibraltar, and eat my way across Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece, and whatever lies in and amongst those. And then I’m going to go to Turkey, and down to Israel, and hop over to North Africa and get my fill of that variety of food before I head back to burgers and fries and y’mama ‘n ’em. But I digress.

It's hard to beat this. Probably the best new recipe in my lexicon in 2010.

Anyway. I decided I’d go ahead and make some pizza dough, because I really thought a pissaladiere/flammenkuche/whateverthehell would go nicely with the pot of Tuscan White Bean Soup that’s been simmering in the slow-cooker all day. And it’s quite good — I’ve taste-tested — because I actually used hot Italian sausage ‘sted of either the mild or the smoked sausage. It may go to work with me tomorrow. And I can put pizza dough in the fridge for NS to build him a pizza later on this weekend. So I kinda tweaked Mark’s pizza dough recipe, adding a little extra flour, a little extra olive oil, a little extra water, and put the bigger portion in the fridge in a baggie to rise so he can have a good thick-crust pizza like he favors, because, well, I didn’t need a big onion tart anyway.

It goes wonderfully with the soup, whose recipe I will not detail, because you can search on here and find it. (And yes, Len, I thought of you.).

And I even made this apple pie, for no reason other than I had the pie crust, and I had the apples, and, well, it sounded like a good idea at the time. And I think it prolly was. It has a layer of ricotta with honey and cinnamon on the bottom, honey crisp apples tossed with lemon juice and sugar in the middle, and a crumble top of melted butter, brown sugar and oatmeal on top. Not half bad. Would be better if I had some seriously good Double Gloucester cheese to go with it.

Too full to try pie right now. Maybe later.

I do have to go to LR on Saturday — a Civil War seminar at the MacArthur Museum I want to attend — so if I still have pie, perhaps I’ll get some Double Gloucester to go with it.

So, that’s Thursday. I’m going back to work tomorrow. You and y’mama ‘n ’em be careful if you get out; could still be icy out there.


2 Responses to “A matter of geography”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    …no anchovies, as I am trying to gin up enough culinary courage to try anchovies

    I seem to be the only person I know who actually likes anchovies, at least as a pizza topping. That said, I don’t opt for them much, but I’ve been known to have the occasional anchovy craving. Never when I’m in anything approximating “a relationship”, but that’s not been an anchovy dealbreaker for longer than I care to recall. 🙂

    I say, “go for it”. If you want, you can save the anchovy experiment for one of my visits, so you know that “the anti-Mikey” will take the leftovers off your hands if you don’t care for it. 😀

  2. Kath the Cook Says:

    I too have something of a probably unreasonable uncertainty about anchovies, but I have dipped my toe – so to speak – into anchovy paste. A bit of a squirt into spaghetti sauce seems to work and something else I cooked probably called for it. Didn’t seem to hurt anything. I think I may be almost ready to acquire a tin and use it!

    happy cooking – kath

    I have a tube of anchovy paste, meant to use it in the pissaladiere, and forgot it. It’s the filets I can’t get past — or, as my ex-husband’s daughter noted, “I don’t like hairy fish.” The appearance really puts me off.

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