Grattons (sometimes spelt ‘gratelons’ in Provence) are little crisply-fried pieces of rendered pork, used here to give this rich pastry the density of a salty short-bread.
Cook the meat, fat and wine over a very gentle heat in a heavy covered saucepan. Press down on the meat several times during cooking to render up as much fat as possible. After 1½-2 hours, pour the liquid off through a strainer it can be used instead of olive oil (and often was 50 years ago in Provence) for cooking. Crisp the diced meat over higher heat, straining off any liquid fat when necessary.
To make the fougasse, make the bread dough and after the first rising mix in the grattons: with a knife cut through the dough first one way and then the next. Reform into a ball and repeat. Gather the pieces together into a mass, divide in two and form into two flat loaves, slashed as on drawing of Fougasse aux gratelons, below. Spread the openings wide with your fingers so that they don’t close up during baking. Brush the top with egg yolk and bake on a hot metal sheet for 30-35 minutes at 450°F/230°C/gas 8 until crisp and golden. Serve warm with a bitter salad such as endive or dandelion.
In both of these bread recipes, the crust will be much crisper if a pan of hot water is placed in the bottom of the oven during baking.
To rescue leftover crusts of good bread, brush each crust with olive oil top & bottom. Spread them with the tapenade sauce or with good tomato coulis & add a few olives or anchovies (or a slice of tomato if you have used tapenade). Grill or cook in a hot oven until bubbling & serve with salad.
© 1987 Leslie Forbes estate. All rights reserved.