Region: France, Corsica
Category: Pizza and Focaccia
Difficulty: Easy but takes non-working time
A flamiche is a kind of leek tart made in northern France, Burgundy, and Picardy, but when I had it in Corsica, it was an incredibly delicious sweet onion and smoked bacon pizza with lots of local cheese, a little red chile, bay leaf, and olive oil. Corsican pizzas are very good and are a little thicker than Italian pizzas. The toppings go right to the edge, so there is hardly a visible crust to speak of. The real difference comes with the richer tastes derived from using a variety of Corsican cheeses, such as brocciu, which is like ricotta, or u rustinu, a soft sheep’s milk cheese that is un-pressed and has a red rind. Corsican or Corsican type cheeses are not imported or made in the U.S. as far as I know, so I’ve devised the substitutes below, which work very well. If you can’t find some of the cheeses I call for, then use a combination of ricotta, Gruyère, and soft goat cheese. This recipe is based on the pizza I had at La Chariot restaurant in Algajola on the northern coast of Corsica.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 servings or 15 hors d'oeuvres servings
Preparation Time: 5 hours
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 3/4 pounds sweet onions, such as Maui or Vidalia, thinly sliced
3 ounces plain soft goat’s milk cheese, crumbled
3 ounces Tronchon cheese (semi-soft Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), thinly sliced
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
pound fresh ricotta cheese, preferably homemade
1/4 pound smoked slab bacon, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
2 dried red chiles, seeded and crumbled
9 small bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the pizza dough. Let rise as instructed.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onions until golden, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out so it fits into a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet and is 1/4 inch thick and make indentations over its entirety with your fingertips. Arrange the cheeses intermingled over the top of the pizza. Spread the onions evenly over the top, then sprinkle the bacon strips about at intervals. Sprinkle with the chile, place the bay leaves around, and season with salt and black pepper.
4. Bake until golden and the bacon is a little crispy, 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into serving portions and serve hot.