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French in a Flash: Allumettes with Pistou

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

Allumettes means matchsticks, and in the kitchen they not only mean the little sticks of wood used to ignite a stove, but also long thin strands of anything crisp, be it French fries, or more commonly, twigs of crisp puff pastry served as snack or to dip into soups.

These allumettes are slightly longer than the industrial standard, baking up to be over a foot long. They're made from pizza dough, chewy and crisp, like fougasse, France's version of focaccia. I smother store-bought pizza dough with homemade basil pistou. If you want to be dogmatic about the pistou, leave out the nuts (the distinguishing factor between the Proven├žal pistou and Ligurian pesto). Then I cut the dough, twist the strands, and bake them. They brown and crisp that way that Parmesan does. The olive oil seems to melt into the bread, and the basil glues onto the allumettes. With little effort, I have delicious better-than-breadsticks. I serve them in a jam jar so they stick up like edible branches. Delicious!

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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