Here is a characteristic Alsatian entree, and a very adaptable dish for a light American meal:
Alsatian Tarte à l'Oignon
Make enough of your favorite short pastry (or see GOURMET, May 1949) for a 9-inch single-crust pie and line a pie plate with it. Slice enough young onions with some of the green, or scallions, or white onions to make 2 cups. Sauté the onions in 2 heaping tablespoons butter until soft and pale yellow. Now beat well 3 eggs and add 1 cup cream, salt, and pepper. Mix well and add to the onions. Fill the pastry lining with this mixture and sprinkle on top 1 slice bacon cut in tiny squares. Bake in a hot oven (400° F.) for about 1/2 hour. Serve at once. You will find this hearty and delicate at the same time.
The subtle mood of Alsatian cookery is illustrated by this digestible poached dish, with a most satisfying sauce:
Veaul à l'Alsacienne
Bone, flatten out, and season with salt and pepper a piece of leg of veal weighing about 4 pounds. Fill it with the following stuffing: 3/4 cup bread crubs, soaked with 1/3 cup cream, 2 small onions or 1 large, chopped and sautéed tablespoon chopped parsley, 2 eggs, beaten, and salt and pepper.
Roll up the veal and tie it, sewing the edges together to keep the stuffing from escaping. Put in a deep pot and cover to about half its depth in white wine and water in equal parts. To this add 2 carrots, 1 onion, both sliced, salt, pepper, and a bouquet garni, Braise, covered, over a rather low heat for 2 hours, or until tender, turning the meat over when it is half cooked. Place the meat on a hot platter and strain off the sauce into a saucepan. Better still, remove the bouquet garni and put the sauce with its vegetables in an electric blender for a few seconds. There should be about 2 cups. Put the sauce on the fire and blend in 1 tablespoon butter which has been creamed with 1 tablespoon flour. Serve the sauce separately.
If you wish to close your dinner with a final Alsatian flourish, you might prepare either crêpes Suzette or a soufflé flavored with their rare, fruity liqueurs. They are remarkable, clean-cut essences, distilled from cherries, plums, prunes, and berries grown in the fertile Rhine Valley. You have a choice of kirsch, Questch, Mirabelle, or that memorable transformation of the raspberry, Framboise. In Alsace, they say that it goes down like fire and returns hauntingly like raspberries, which is a very intriguing experience indeed.
The list of good restaurants and hotels is unusually large this month. You have an embarras de choix, particularly in Strasbourg. This remains one of the most picturesque of European cities, in spite of successive wars. It is difficult to limit the Strasbourg selections to these three:
MAISON KAMMERZELL, 16 place de la Cathédrale. This restaurant is located in a most extraordinary timbered house, perhaps the finest in Strasbourg. You may dine in antique salons whose leaded windows look out on the cathedral. There is a wine-tasters' room, too. Here you may taste the celebrated poularde strasbourgeoise and that Alsatian classic, truite au bleu. The house is noted for its crêpes and pastries.