My brother James completely cracks me up. He’s a 25-year-old home beer brewer/International culinary enthusiast/fearless cook. While I’m trying to figure out how I can get a really spectacular dinner on the table quickly, he’s making Julia Child’s all day Boeuf Bourguignon and pairing it perfectly with his favorite craft brew of the week. James sends me this Facebook post a few days ago:
"Trish, I have a Diet It Up challenge for you. Can you think of a way to healthy-up Tarte Flambée? It's a French flatbread covered in crème fraiche, bacon and onion. I feel like there's a healthy variant out there somewhere, I just can't quite find it."
A healthy bacon pizza? I call that an oxymoron of epic proportions. Obviously my own brother was trying to set me up for a Saturday afternoon of eating failed pizza attempts (given my inability to throw anything away). I don’t know much about the French or their food. The last time I checked, Flambée was something set on fire.
A quick search turned up a recipe from the beautiful blog, Smitten Kitchen. I was able to learn what the Alsatian specialty is supposed to look and taste like. Her recipe gave me a great starting point to launch my own clever swap outs and culinary substitutions.
First off, I made my own HONEY WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH. I always take the lazy route and grab a frozen ball of dough from Whole Foods. That’s perfectly fine. But, if you want to go the extra mile and make your own dough, I highly recommend this one. The hint of honey adds a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with salty pizza toppings. I cut the ball of dough into 4 to make portion-controlled individual servings.
The creamy “crème fraiche” base is made with a mixture of ricotta and sour cream (part-skim of course). Instead of bacon, I made crispy, crumbled prosciutto by baking slices of it in the oven. The fat drips away from the meat leaving the same salty, smoky flavor with much less fat.
I know the authentic flatbread is made with raw onions. I don’t love the bite of so much raw onion, so I went with Smitten’s approach and very lightly caramelized them in some olive oil. They are melt-in-your mouth silky.
The final BACON & ONION PIZZA was a flavorful combination of salty and sweet, creamy and crunchy. It may not be the most “diet” of all things I’ve ever made, but it’s certainly a significant calorie reduction from the original.
We ate the leftovers the next day for brunch with a runny, over easy fried egg on top…because runny fried eggs make every day just a little bit brighter.
Do you have an idea for a Recipe Slimdown? Send me your gut busters and I’ll take a stab and turning them into waist slimmers.