Tarte fine aux poireaux et lardons

Leek bacon tart7This fine-crust savory tart with leeks and bacon is what you might call French ‘pizza.’ It is a relative of the more commonly seen flammekueche from Alsace, in which bacon and finely sliced onions are placed on thin dough covered in crème fraîche. That very popular dish is also known as tarte flambée because it is traditionally cooked over flames in a wood-burning oven. Happily, culinary techniques have moved on, and you don’t need to set your kitchen on fire these days to produce a French savory tart.

Tarte fine aux poireaux et lardons / French ‘pizza’ with leeks and bacon

In fact, thanks to huge improvements in the quality of supermarket products, this tart may be made with packaged pizza dough, meaning you can produce an elegant starter or lunch dish in a matter of minutes. Or you can make your own pizza dough, or go to your local bakery — as may be done here in France — and buy a lump of bread dough to use as the crust. The rest is child’s play, but (warning) don’t let your kids near the kitchen. This tart is so popular with the younger set that it may well be devoured before reaching the table.

With this recipe, I am inaugurating a new category on The Everyday French Chef: Savory Tarts and Tartines. There is a world of savory tarts beyond quiche in France, from pissaladière in the south to flammekueche in the north to what we call make-your-own-pizza here at home, with inventive combinations of whatever we happen to have in the fridge or pantry. As for tartines — the ubiquitous open-faced sandwiches that have been served in this country forever — they are creative, quick and easy to prepare. I plan to begin offering recipes on this site in the weeks ahead. Both the tarts and the tartines are classic French fast food with an elegant touch. Perfect fare for everyday French cooking.

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