This is a Springtime flatbread, featuring the first new peas and fresh herbs from the garden, an aged Reblochon cheese, and wonderful Vermont ham. On a crisp, quick sourdough pizza crust, this is a memorable combination of flavors.
The weather has been very cool and rainy for several weeks until today, which was bright, hot and humid. One result of this is that the pea plants have been getting huge without producing peas until just now. I took a trip down the field with Heidi* to collect some, hoping for the best.
I collected a big double handful, then went to the herb garden and found lots of sage leaves, garlic chives and greek oregano.
I remembered that I've been saving one of my Reblochons from the last batch, which was extra-large. I had made it this way intentionally, hoping to produce a cheese that would ripen over a longer period than regular Reblochon, and keep improving over a few months while I used it up. I got it out of the cold fridge, where I had it wrapped in wax paper. Gave it a quick scrub and voila! It looked very reasonable. So I melted a piece of it, and it was absolutely superb.
I decided to make a tarte flambee with the peas, herbs and reblochon, as well as the very lean, firm ham we buy from Singleton's. (Note: Tarte flambee is traditionally made with creme fraiche, lardons, and onions, so I am taking considerable license with the TF. Bear with me, because you will like the result.) I wanted to have this on a thin, crisp crust, so I made quick sourdough pizza crust to use as the base. The sourdough starter in the mix provides texture and flavor that you would spend a day developing otherwise.
Tarte Flambée with Reblochon, Spring Peas and Ham
- Plan ahead: Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500F at least 20 minutes before you plan to bake.
- Make the Quick Pizza Dough before beginning to prep other ingredients, to give it plenty of time to rise and relax. Allow 30 to 60 minutes for this.
for Quick Pizza Dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 T instant yeast
1/2 cup (heaping) thick sourdough starter
1/2 cup + 1 T warm water
Durum semolina flour to place on peel (can use regular flour)
Olive oil to spray or brush on crust
1 cup fresh snap peas, strings removed, tossed with 1T olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced Vermont ham, or other lean, smoky ham
1 1/2 cups diced Reblochon or other aged, washed-rind cheese such as Raclette or similar
Fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup sliced garlic chives
To add for the last 3 minutes of bake:
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, loose (several sprigs with leaves removed for use)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves (around 20 small and medium leaves)
- Make Quick Pizza Dough: Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in electric mixer bowl with dough hook fitted. Stir to combine. Add the sourdough starter and water, and mix at slow medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes. Leave this covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes while prepping other ingredients.
- Roll out the dough on a floured countertop, to the size of a cookie sheet. Keep it floured on both sides to prevent sticking. This crust should be relatively thin.
Generously coat a large pizza peel with durum flour or regular flour.
Transfer dough to the floured peel by folding it up and then unfolding on the peel.
Shake the peel around to be sure that the Tarte will not stick while you add the ingredients.
- Spray the surface of the dough with olive oil, or brush it on lightly.
Quickly add the ingredients (except for the sage and oregano):
The Reblochon or other cheese chunks
Several grinds of black pepper
The garlic chives
- Slide the Tarte onto the preheated pizza stone in the 500F oven. The idea is that everything will cook very quickly and be done at the same time: crust, peas, cheese and ham.
Bake for 10 minutes or until brown on the edges. Add the fresh herbs and bake for another 3 minutes.
The Tarte is done when the cheese is lightly browned, and the outer crust is golden.
- Remove with peel, slice and enjoy!
*Footnote: Heidi and the peas
While photographing pea flowers, I heard a commotion at my feet. Heidi had hooked a rather large paw in the row of vines, pulling one of them down. This became tangled up and wound around her, but she fought free and ran back up the hill to the house, escaping the evil pea plants. Not bad for 8 weeks old!