Ain't Nothin' But a Bastille Party

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
Yahoo Food

The Tarte Flambée at Montmartre. Photo credit: Courtesy Montmartre

Bastille Day is Monday, which means this weekend francophiles nationwide will celebrate with wine and cheese and baguettes in the name of the French Revolution. And boozing on Sundays.

"Of all the French holidays, I think Bastille Day is the most familiar to Americans," says Nick Fauchald, creative director for the Little Wisco/Happy Cooking restaurant group in New York City, who is throwing a party Montmartre, one of the group’s restaurants. “And while the French don’t do anything special for the Fourth of July, we Americans are more than happy to use France’s independence day as an excuse to wear fedoras and drink rosé and eat too much cheese.”

Oui, oui!

Fauchald, who’s also the brain behind Short Stack Editions cookbooks, has some tips for how to party like it’s 1789 at home. He suggests an easy, French-y cocktail of Lillet (blanc or rosé) over ice with some combination of sliced fruit: oranges, cucumbers, and strawberries, maybe, with a splash of tonic or soda if you want to soften it. And, since Bastille Day always falls on one of the summer’s hottest weekends, he says a frozen dessert is a must. “We’ll have boozy sno-cones and an ice cream bar at our party, but a fruity ice pop stuck into a glass of booze (say, a lemon pop in a glass of Pastis or Campari) is one of the best insta-desserts I’ve ever had.” Sip and slurp as both melt into each other. 

Music? La Féte Montmartre will feature have a four-piece gypsy jazz band—”my favorite Sunday afternoon party music”—but Fauchald says setting Pandora or Spotify on a Django Reinhardt station will have the same effect. “For something more raucous, try French hip-hop or rap, like MC Solaar or IAM.” And “if you need a distraction from eating, drinking, or dancing, play some Godard (“Band à Part” or “Alphaville”) or other French New Wave films on silent.”

Speaking of that food, here’s a recipe for the savory tart that will be making the rounds at La Féte Montmartre. Now it can make the rounds chez vous, too.

Tarte Flambée with Summer Squash, Onions & Lardons
by Chef Michael Toscano
Serves 6

3/4 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch Kosher salt

1/2 lb. slab bacon, cut into 1/2” slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup fromage blanc
1 summer squash, thinly sliced crosswise
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

Activate the yeast by stirring it with the sugar and 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Let sit until the mixture becomes frothy, about 10 minutes.

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the olive oil, salt and the activated yeast mixture. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Dust a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough until it is tight and firm, 7 minutes. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bacon in a large, wide pan and give it a couple drops of olive oil. Bring the pan to a medium heat and cook the bacon until it is brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve on paper towels.

Add the onions to the pan, season with salt, cover and cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook the onions up to 45 minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until they are very soft and caramelized. When the onions are deep brown, remove them from the heat and reserve.

Combine the crème fraîche and fromage blanc. Divide the dough into 4 even balls and roll them out into discs until they are 1/8” thick and 8” in diameter. Place them on a sheet tray and bake them in the oven for 4 minutes.

Remove the dough from the oven. Spread each dough evenly with the cheese mixture, then layer sliced squash, caramelized onions, and then bacon evenly on top.

Return the assembled tart to the oven until the dough is crisp on the bottom and the toppings are bubbly, 8 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve.