Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Pizza Savoyarde

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[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

When you think of Savoy, think of the Alps. There is something about the chill of a mountain that encourages you to eat your way into a pot-bellied stove, as if eating the food will lend you the experience of baking with it in a very warm and cozy place. Perhaps that is why anything "savoyarde" seems to contain three very comforting ingredients: gooey and smelly Reblochon cheese, potatoes, and ham—like tartiflette. It's hearty and perfect for winter.

Ironically, my first taste of Savoy was in a small seaside town in Provence called Cassis during the height of summer. I parked myself at a little crêpe establishment, and after some consideration, ordered the crêpe savoyarde. The crêpe was stuffed with running Reblochon cheese and potatoes, and on top of the envelope-fold of crêpe was placed a drape of jambon cru, like prosciutto. It was rich and wholesome and far too heavy for summer, so that I staggered back up the hot, hot hill to my house, feeling more like I resembled a snowman than a girl. But the crêpe's flavors worked so well together that I thought to myself instantly, "I want to make this into a pizza."

And sure enough, fresh off the plane, I started reconstructing my pizza savoyarde, crusting the pizza dough with scales of paper thin-sliced potatoes and planks of Savoy cheese. When they were crusty and crisp, I saddled the pizza with an avalanche of arugula and a blanket of Jambon de Bayonne. It was perfect—a mix between the very rich and the very fresh. It had heft, it had bite, and it was unusual: a white pizza with the unmistakable flavor, and odor, of France.

I was thrilled to share my original masterpiece with you all. But when I went to Google "pizza savoyarde" earlier today to refresh my grammatical memory as to the gender of "pizza" in French, I saw millions of pizza savoyarde recipes pop up on the screen! Turns out this week's recipe is more authentic—and less inspired—than I originally thought. Where others put crème fraîche, I put arugula, just to gently lighten the load. But be careful: as with tartiflette and crêpe savoyarde, it's a slippery Alpine slope to finding you've eaten the entire thing.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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