Are you ever in a restaurant, deep in scintillating conversation when a fabulous plate of food passes by on the way to another table? Suddenly, you forget just what fascinating tidbit your table-mate was telling you. They might have been talking about their brand-new wiener dog puppy or how they just got tickets to a sold out show, but all you can think about is the plate. Thoughts fly through your head: what is it, where is it, I want it!
That’s when you start to do the awkward dance where you try to get your server’s attention and discreetly point out the plate. By then the plate is on the other side of the room. You’re half in your seat and half out of it, your head swivelling around, when you realize you have no idea where the plate has gone. It’s time to bring out that strange mix of interrogation and vague descriptors to get your server to tell you which item on the menu you so covet. After five or so minutes of “um, it looked delicious…i think it had sauce…so, do you know what it is?!” the server lets you know. Of course you order it. And when it comes…it’s everything you’ve dreamed.
I’m one of those horrible diners that’s always looking around me to see what everyone else is eating. I’d like to think I’m doing it discreetly, but Mike begs to differ. It might be just a wee bit annoying, but I’ve discovered some of my favourite dishes by being just a little nosy. One of my all time favourite discoveries: tarte flambée.
Tarte flambée is basically a pizza topped with crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardon. Sounds pretty enticing, right? Well, at one of my local haunts, Faux Bourgeois, they’ve made it even better. Their version still has the onions and lardon, but golden, flaky puff pastry replaces the base, and it’s topped with ricotta and fresh arugula. It’s truly delicious: rich crème fraîche, smoky bacon, sweet onions and peppery arugula. Savoury, satisfying and addictive, tarte flambée is perfect for breakfast topped with an egg or as a snack or appetizer in miniature form. The best part? How ridiculously easy it is to make!
I am square, I am flame kissed: I AM TARTE FLAMBÉE!
Tarte Flambée Recipe
yield: 4 breakfast-sized pieces or 16 mini sized
- 1 10″ square of frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 8 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup ricotta
- 1 cup arugula
Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. While your bacon is cooking, heat up a bit of oil in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add your thinly sliced onions and cook until soft and caramelized, stirring every so often, about 15 minutes.
Cut your puff paster into 4 or 16 equally sized pieces. Spread a bit of crème fraîche on each piece and top with caramelized onions and bacon. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake until puff pastry is golden and puffy, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Top each flambé with a tiny bit of ricotta and a couple leaves of arugula. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. For an extra crazy treat, top with a sunny side up egg.