easy pissaladière with parmesan cheese
growing up, mum was always making us “french onion tart” as we used to call it. she’d make a few big trays for the family on weekends and pack them for our days at the beach or picnics in the national park.
the official french word for this delectable treat is pissaladière (looks and sounds much nicer). it is a caramelised onion pizza/tart with nicoise olives and anchovies. it's the margarita pizza of the south of france, originating in nice. everywhere you go you will see it! it doesn’t normally have parmesan cheese on it, but that's how mum made it for us and i can't imagine it any other way. i make an easy version of this using a good quality puff pastry instead of making dough from scratch (dough scares me, but i’m working on it!). pissaladière is perfect for taking on picnics or barbecues with friends. pair it with some crisp rosé or icy cold beer, and you've got yourself a good time.
it’s easy and impressive, all in one. my bread and butter. don’t be scared of the anchovies! it isn't “fishy,” more of a salty, sweet, melt in your mouth taste. i am totally in love with anchovies, i like to get the italian 'dilicus' brand in the international aisle at coles. trust me. if you make this, or any recipe that calls for anchovies, get this brand. if you really hate them you could use capers instead, or just take them out completely. i won't judge you.... much. ;)
INGREDIENTS (2 tarts)
- 1kg brown onions thinly cut
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tbs of olive oil
- 2 tbs of butter
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp of salt and pepper
- 1 tbs of raw sugar
- 1 packet of good quality puff pastry
- nicoise olives (these are hard to find in australia :( so kalamata olives will suffice, that's what i had to use)
- a jar of anchovy fillets (look in the international aisle of your supermarket for the best)
- parmesan cheese
- an egg or milk to brush the pastry
1 / preheat your oven to 180 degree celsius. take out your pastry and thaw according to instructions on the box (normally an hour out at room temperature)
2 / to make the caramelised onion mixture, add chopped onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt (only a little bit! as the olives and anchovies are already very salty), pepper, sugar, olive oil and butter to a pot or pan on medium heat. stir for a few minutes to melt butter then turn heat to low and put lid on to let onions stew for 45 minutes. checking and stirring in-between. you do not want to brown or crisp the onions you want them to become soft and caramelised. after 45 minutes take lid off and stir on low heat for another 10-15 minutes until moisture has evaporated.
3 / now place onion mixture in a bowl to cool in the fridge for half an hour or so.
4 / once onion mixture has cooled, it's time to prepare the tart. lay thawed pastry on baking paper and use a rolling pin to thin it out a little. cut pastry to the right size for the tray you will be baking on.
5 / layer onion mixture, parmesan, a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, anchovies and olives in a pretty pattern leaving about a 2cm border of pastry around the edge. brush pastry with whisked egg or milk and put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden. take out and let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
** tip - for a more crispy bottom, place the baking tray in the oven for about 10 minutes to get really hot before baking.