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.
- 1 1-pound ball of pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandolin
- 1 scant tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 6 slices jambon cru (Jambon de Bayonne or Prosciutto)
- 2 cups baby arugula
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Using some bench flour to prevent sticking, roll the pizza dough out to a 16 by 14-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Arrange the potato slices so they overlap all over the surface of the pizza, again respecting the 1-inch crust. Brush with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven at 500°F for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and starting to go golden, and the crust is puffed and crisp and cooked.
Arrange the jambon cru on the bias over the top of the pizza. Scatter with arugula, and drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Cut into squares, and serve.