Alsatian tart three ways

By Antoni Porowski
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An Alsatian tart (also known as tarte flambée) is more like a flatbread than a tart. Here are three of my favorite versions. The no-fuss crust is made with store-bought pizza dough, which you can top with whatever you like. A good rule of thumb when making up your own combinations is to keep it fairly simple and on the lighter side, weightwise. Going with just three to four ingredients allows each one to shine, and it keeps the toppings from toppling off the crust as you’re eating.

YIELDS
12 TEN CENTIMETER SQUARES

Ingredients

Alsatian tart crust:

  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 454 grams store-bought white or whole wheat pizza dough, at room temperature

Alsatian tart with charred red onions and crème fraîche:

  • Olive oil for the griddle / grill pan
  • 4 medium red onions (about 900 grams), cut into 1 centimeter thick wedges, leaving some of the root end intact
  • Alsatian Tart Crust, warm
  • 1 cup (237 milliliters) crème fraiche, well stirred
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Alsatian tart with melted leeks, gruyère, and prosciutto:

  • 6 medium leeks (1.2 to 1.4 kilograms)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 142 grams thinly sliced prosciutto, preferably the packaged sort (from 2 packages)
  • Alsatian Tart Crust, warm or cooled
  • 85 grams Gruyère or Emmenthaler, coarsely grated (about 1 heaping cup)
  • Fresh thyme leaves for sprinkling

Alsatian tart with miso-glazed squash:

  • 1 large winter squash (1.2 to 1.4 kilograms), preferably Kabocha, Red Kuri, or butternut
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons dry fruity white wine, such as Viognier or unoaked Chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sesame oil, or toasted sesame oil plus red pepper flakes to taste
  • Alsatian Tart Crust, warm or cooled
  • 1 heaping teaspoon furikake (see Tip) or toasted black or white sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Alsatian tart crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 425 F, with a rack in the middle.
  2. Dust a 33-x-45-centimeter baking sheet with one tablespoon of the cornmeal, then drizzle with the oil. Place the dough on the baking sheet and gently press and stretch it out to the pan edges, dusting your hands and/or dough with a little cornmeal if the dough is too sticky. (If the dough springs back, let it rest for a few minutes, then resume; it’ll get there!) Dust the top of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of cornmeal, then prick all over with the tines of a fork.
  3. Bake until the bottom of the crust and the edges are golden, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. The crust can be baked up to eight hours ahead and kept uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm in a 225 F oven for a few minutes, if necessary, before topping.

Alsatian Tart with charred red onions and crème fraîche:

  1. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with oil. Arrange the onion wedges on the hot pan, cut side down, and grill, without disturbing, until the bottom sides are deeply golden and charred in spots, five to six minutes. Turn the wedges over and grill until the second sides are golden and the onions are crisp-tender, five to six minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Place the warm crust on a large cutting board (cool if it’s still hot) and spread the creme fraiche over it, leaving about an inch border. Arrange the charred onions on top. Cut the tart into 12 pieces and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve.

Alsatian Tart with melted leeks, gruyère, and prosciutto:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F, with racks in the middle and upper third. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trim off the root ends and tough green tops of the leeks. Cut lengthwise in half, then cut into 2.5 centimeter pieces. Submerge in a large bowl of cold water and swish the leeks around, separating the layers to remove the grit. Lift the leeks out of the water and transfer to a colander to drain. Spin-dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a dishcloth.
  2. In large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat if the leeks begin to brown, until softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are very soft and “melted,” 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the prosciutto slices on the baking sheets, leaving a little space between them. Bake until the slices are shriveled and dark red and the fatty edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes; keep an eye on them to avoid burning. Set the prosciutto “chips” on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; they will crisp as they cool.
  4. Break the prosciutto chips into 2.5 - 5 centimeter pieces and set aside. Heat the oven to broil, with the rack 10 to 12 centimeters from the heat source. Spread the leeks on top of the baked crust. Sprinkle with the cheese. Broil the tart until the top is bubbling and golden, two to three minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, top with the prosciutto chips and thyme, and serve.

Tip:

  1. Packaged sliced prosciutto is the perfect thickness for crisping in the oven. And since the slices come separated by nice neat sheets of paper, it’s quick and easy to get them from the package to the pan without tearing.

Alsatian Tart with Miso-Glazed Squash:

  1. Heat the oven to 450 F, with racks in the middle and upper third. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.               
  2. Cut the squash in half (no need to peel it), then remove the seeds. Place each half cut side down on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
  3. Divide the squash slices between the baking sheets. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss gently to coat, then arrange cut side down on the pans. Roast, rotating the pans once halfway through, until the squash is crisp-tender, about ten minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the wine, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a simmer, then whisk in the miso and continue simmering, whisking occasionally, until the glaze is thickened, syrupy, and reduced to about a generous . cup, four to six minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  5. When the squash is ready, brush with the miso glaze. Return to the oven and continue roasting until the squash is tender and the glaze is bubbling, four to six minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with pepper.
  6. Let cool for five to ten minutes.
  7. Transfer the baked crust to a large cutting board. Drizzle the hot sesame oil over the top. (Or, if you are using toasted sesame oil, drizzle over the crust, then sprinkle with the red pepper flakes to taste.) Arrange the squash on top (overlapping the pieces a little if necessary). Sprinkle with the furikake or sesame seeds and cilantro. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.

Tip:

  1. Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning typically made of dried fish flakes, sesame seeds, and dried nori, although it may also include other seasonings. I sprinkle it over salads, vegetables, and fish. Look for it in the ethnic or spice sections of larger supermarkets or buy it online.

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This recipe appears in Antoni in the Kitchen (© 2019)

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