My nervous LOL moment for the week came from his quote about roasting birds (we're talking neighborhood doves and sparrows, not your free-range chicken from Whole Foods)... "I have a friend who cooks birds with the feet on," he (Rinella) said, apologizing for his technique. "He knows when they're done by how tight the grip gets." Not sure why I had a vision some poor soul in the electric chair. Oh well. Sometimes I have a morbid sense of humor.
Our last visit to Alsace was a few years ago and since then, my husband and I have not found or made a tarte flambee (or flammekueche) tasty enough to remind us of our trip…until last weekend. Every cook has their own way of making this savory onion tart, and they are probably right, of course – whether they use yeast, no yeast, puff pastry, etc. I personally love a thin crust; this way I can enjoy the cheese, crème fraiche, and onion base.
Joe and Conny, good friends and exceptional cooks, came over with a basket full my kind of candy – tubs of crème fraiche, goat cheese, container of Hobbs bacon bits, tub of bacon "juice", caramelized onions, as well as delicate rounds of various dough. Hands down, my favorite was Conny's non-yeast dough – which was made quite spontaneously in our kitchen. The thin, crisp crust was such a compliment to the savory toppings. For dessert, we were treated to Conny's grandma's recipe of Apfel Dünnele - a southern German pie. I should also mention that all tartes were baked on a preheated (450 f) pizza stone. We placed the tarte on a round metal platter on top of the pizza stone for about 10 minutes, then slipped it onto the stone for several more minutes.
For wine, we stayed in the region then hopped over to the Mosel: 1994 Rolly Gassmann Riesling Pflaenzerreben de Rorschwihr (remarkably finessed with gentle petrol - wonderful with the non-yeast tarte) and a 2001 Willi Schaefer Riesling - Spatlese Graacher Domprobst (nice but could probably stand a few more years).