I first had a Pissaladière Niçoise at the restaurant Le Nid d’Aigle, in the mountains above Nice. I loved it and not just because of the picturesque moment captured in the photo! When I returned (solo) from my escapade I made it for Adrienne and it became one of our favorites. The sweetness of the slow-cooked onions contrasts perfectly with the saltiness of the anchovies, the sharpness of the olives and the pungent scent of thyme. For those of you who are saying eeeewwww to anchovies – they really are a necessary part of the overall taste and without them you just have a lot of sweet onions.
Patience is key when caramelizing onions. While you have to leave the onions alone to let the sugars caramelize, keep a close eye on them toward the end, because they can burn easily. And though the finished tart would normally be served at room temperature, I also love it warm. The recipe for Flaky Tart Pastry is perfect for this tart.
This recipe was inspired by Julia Child from Mastering the Art of French Cooking but I have made it so many times that I have gone a bit off piste with the addition of cherry tomatoes, bacon and smoked paprika. They are optional but who would say no to bacon?!
It makes a great first course or the main for a luncheon with a salad and cheese course. Mangiare!
A classic Provençal dish made with slowly caramelized onions, bacon and anchovies will transport you to Nice in the summer sunshine!
- 2 lbs. thinly sliced onion
- 4 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 cloves unpeeled garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. smoked paprika or pimenton
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Single crust short pastry (see Flaky Tart Pastry)
- 4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 8 anchovy filets
- 16 pitted black or green olives, dry not in brine
- 8 small cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Olive Oil
- Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan that will hold all the onions. Add the onions, bouquet garni, thyme, garlic and salt. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Do not let the onions burn. If necessary, reduce the heat to low. At the end of the time the onions should be translucent and slightly colored. Discard the bouquet garni and the thyme sprig. Remove the garlic from its skin and add the pulp to the onions. Briefly raise the heat to medium high to allow the onions to get a bit caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in paprika and pepper. Taste for seasoning but don’t add too much salt because the anchovies will add saltiness to the mixture.
- Step 2 Pre-heat oven 400 F
- Step 3 Roll out the pastry to cover an 8” removable bottom tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork at regular intervals. Line the pastry with buttered parchment paper or foil and fill it with dried beans or pastry weights. Bake on the center rack for 8-9 minutes or just until the pastry is set. Remove the parchment/foil and prick the bottom of the pastry again to prevent it from rising. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove it when the pastry begins to color and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Step 4 Spread the onion mixture in the pastry shell. Lay the anchovy filets over the onions and then scatter the olives and tomatoes between them. Sprinkle with the crumbled bacon and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the onions are slightly scorched.