Holiday Feature


Onion Tart
Serves 1, or 4 as a light snack


Onion Tart This onion and anchovy tart is Nice's version of the Italian pizza. It should have a thin, crisp base and a thick topping of thinly sliced onion. A proper one is topped with pissala, a strong fish paste made from the small fry of sardines and anchovies. But this is increasingly rare and, even in Nice, anchovy fillets are generally substituted.


For the Dough:
1/4 ounce fresh yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups strong bread flour plus
   extra for rolling out dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for sprinkling
3-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Bouquet garni consisting of 1 sprig of thyme,
   1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig of fennel
10 anchovy fillets, canned and drained
20 black olives, such as Nicois, unpitted


For the dough, mix the yeast with the warm water in a small bowl. Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the well. Using your hands, mix the dry ingredients gradually into the liquid to form a smooth dough. Knead the dough, then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until it has doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bouquet garni and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are very soft but not colored, stirring carefully so that the onions are garlic do not burn.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Punch down the bread dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into an 8-inch circle. Carefully place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and turn up the edge evenly to make a rim all around. Leave the dough for 15 minutes to let it rise a little. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Remove the bouquet garni from the onions, then spread the onions thickly over the dough. Arrange the anchovy fillets on top and dot with the olives. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil, return the tart to the oven, and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust browns. You can serve the pissaladiere hot, warm, or at room temperature, as a snack or as a light lunch.

Recipe from:

Provence Gastronomique:
by Erica Brown
Photography by Debbie Patterson
$27.50 (hardback)
Abbeville Press Publishers
ISBN: 0-7892-0038-4
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006