Pissaladière is an absolute favorite of mine. (Well of course it is; it’s French!) And I have been making it now for about 30 years. It is one of my favorite appetizers to serve with cocktails, especially when I have a fairly sophisticated crowd. (It takes a certain amount of savoir-faire to look an anchovy in the eye, especially when it is in the loving company of other strong flavored ingredients like capers and kalamata olives.)
But there is absolutely nothing not to love about this tart. And the best part; the crust is as easy to prepare as the topping. I actually didn’t post this recipe before because I wanted to find a replacement for the crust in my original recipe. And the reason, (let’s see, how do I put this politely) the original crust was an absolute pain in the – – – to prepare! (Out of the goodness of my heart, I’ve provided you with the original crust recipe below so that you can appreciate why I took the effort to make the preparation of this dish easier for you! Well OK, for me too!)
Regardless of the reason, you are going to love how easy and quick this whole dish comes together. And your family and friends are going to think you a kitchen Goddess or God when you present them with a piece of this heaven in a bite. Bon Appétit
- 1½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 c. plus 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ¼ c. milk
- 3 medium onions, diced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 T. washed and drained capers
- 6-8 anchovies or 1 small tin
- 12-15 pitted kalamata olives, cut in quarters if large, half if not so large
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together the 1/3 cup olive oil and milk in another bowl, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and no loose flour remains. Using your fingers, press the crust into a 7×11-inch glass baking dish, beginning with the bottom, then press a tiny bit up the sides of the pan. (Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the crust.) Bake for 12 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Remove crust from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and cook onions over medium low heat until caramelized, stirring frequently. (This step will take at least 30 minutes.) Season with just a small amount of pepper. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and capers. Cook for another minute or until garlic releases aroma. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf.
When ready to bake, spread the onion mixture evenly over the partially baked crust. Arrange anchovy* pieces and olives evenly on top of the onion mixture. Finish baking in the pre-heated 425 degree oven until crust is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. (Don’t under-bake.) Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool. When ready to serve, cut into small pieces. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Pissaladière can also be served as a first course. Just cut the pieces a bit larger.
*If the anchovies are kind of mushy when you open the can, you can stir them into the onion mixture along with the garlic, bay leaf, etc. until they basically melt into the onions. You can also use a little bit of the olive oil in the can or jar to add additional anchovy flavor. (That’s what I usually do, but then I LOVE anchovies!)
My original Pissaladièr crust recipe:
- 1¼ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ c. (½ stick) chilled butter cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- cold water
Mix flour and salt in processor. Add butter and olive oil. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Using on/off turns, mix in enough water 1 tablespoon at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface to 11-inch round or square. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t transfer without breaking into pieces. Just piece it back together on the baking sheet and no one will be the wiser! (And yes, the crust broke apart every time I made it!) Crimp edges of dough to form stand-up border. Spread onion topping evenly over dough. Arrange anchovy pieces and olives evenly on top of the onion mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven until the crust is crisp and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve.
Note: If you choose to use this recipe, you will need to about double the amount of onions, anchovies, and kalamata olives called for in the topping recipe above.