PISSALADIÈRE

Pissaladière is a savory, Provencal onion tart layered with onions, olives, anchovies, and herbs. Serve it cut into little rectangles for a fabulous party appetizer. Pair it with a salad and soup for a healthy lunch or light main course. Bon appetit!  It’s traditionally made with a bread-dough base, but you can also do it with bought puff pastry, or with a shortcrust pastry base it’s just as appetizing.  I’ve included the 3 different options below.

For this first versión, I’m just going to include the caramelized onion instructions, as I tried the bread dough and didn’t like it at all.  The next time, I’ll be using one of my bread doughs from my ‘Doughs, Pastries & Batters Section’ or a simple pizza base dough.

So, to make the onion topping:

In a frying pan, melt 2 tbsps butter and add 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and a large onion (400g) cut into rings.  Cook over a low heat until caramelized (about 20 mins).  Be very careful to cook the onions gently. One bit of burned onion will give the whole recipe a bitter flavor.  Remove from the heat and add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

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Roll out the dough over greaseproof paper, sprinkled with flour.   Brush with olive oil then place the caramelized onions on top.  Place in a very hot oven and when it’s golden brown, add a few anchovies (not too many otherwise the end overall result will be too salty) and some black olives and return to the oven for a couple of minutes.

This second versión is the very first time I made Pissaladière, from the Katie Stewart’s Times Cookery Book (page 281), although the main difference between a pizza and a pissaladière is that the latter doesn’t have any tomatoes at all, and unlike both, this one is made with eggs and tomatoes, making the end result more like a quiche.

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Serves 4, Time taken 1 1/2 hours

100g shortcrust pastry

For the filling
450g tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
15g butter
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsps tomato purée
2 eggs
100g grated cheese
Salt & freshly milled pepper
12 anchovy fillets / black olives

Method
Roll out the pastry and use to line a 20cm quiche tin, or flan ring set on a baking tray.  Trim the edges neatly and set aside while preparing the filling.

Nick the skins of the tomatoes.  Place together in a mixing bowl and cover with boiling wáter.  Stand for 1 minute, then drain and peel away the skins.  Halve the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop the tomato flesh coarsely.  Peel and finely chop the onion; peel the garlic and crush to a paste with a Little salt.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme and tomato purée.  Cover with a lid and cook very gently for 30 minutes.

Draw the pan off the heat, cool for a momento and then beat in the eggs, cheese and a seasoning of salt and pepper.  Pour into the prepared pastry case.  Arrange a lattice work of anchovy fillets over the top and decorate with halved and stoned black olives.  Place above centre in a moderately hot oven (190ºC) and bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm with salad.

Now here’s another recipe, this time with a puff pastry base:

Pissaladière with puff pastry

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar (raw sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 20 anchovy fillets
  • 20 black olives in oil, drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and demerara sugar and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions become tender and start to turn golden. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir the mixture and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted, very soft, and are a medium gold throughout.

Add the vinegar during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the onions from the oven and set them aside while preparing the pastry for the pissaladiere. until they reach room temperature, and then serve.

Raise the oven temperature to 425F. Press the thawed pastry into a rectangle on a 12-inch by 18-inch baking sheet, building it up a bit around the edges. Spread the pastry with the onion confit, leaving 1 inch of dough uncovered around the edges of the pastry. Arrange the anchovy filets and olives on the pissaladière. Bake it for 15 to 25 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up, turned golden, and crisped.

Remove the pissaladière from the oven and sprinkle the olive oil and fresh thyme across the hot surface of the tart. Cut it into rectangles and serve very warm or at room temperature.

This pissaladière recipe makes 10 servings.

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