Caroline Cooks

A modest documentation of my culinary exploits.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I like the idea of savory tarts. Regrettably, they often lose their appeal due to the presence of heavy ingredients such as cream, eggs, and cheese (quiche is a classic example of this). There is a good reason why these components are so frequently found in savory tarts, of course; they bind well to each other and to loose ingredients such as vegetables, providing a coherent filling that will neither saturate the crust nor ooze or tumble out of it.

However, that doesn't mean an all-vegetable tart filling can't be done. In this recipe onions, tomato, and black olives cling to each other in a mixture having a consistency not unlike a that of a fruit pie filling. Indeed, the secret is the same: a teaspoon of white sugar added to the simmering stage and followed by a reduction of liquid. The result is exactly what I would want a savory tart to be, a pile of slightly sweet vegetables on a wisp of buttery crust.

A true pissaladiere contains anchovies-- its name comes from "pissalat", a spiced anchovy puree which is traditionally spread on the tart before baking. However, the name can be used as a rough designation for any Mediterranean-style onion tart. Do not neglect to add the capers; they make it special.

(for the pastry)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
a pinch of salt

(for the filling)
2 yellow or vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 tbsp olive oil
grated nutmeg, to taste
1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
dried thyme, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp capers
fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Rub the flour with the butter until it forms fine crumbs, then mix in the herbs and salt. Add just enough water so it forms a firm dough. Roll out the crust and use it to line a tart or pie pan. Bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment paper and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes until very soft. Sprinkle in the nutmeg and mix well. Add the tomatoes, sugar, thyme, salt, and pepper and simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the mixture is reduced and slightly syrupy.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Stir in the olives, capers, and some of the fresh parsley. Spoon the mixture into the pie crust and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley.


Blogger Kristina said...

I love the idea of this savory tart--will try it soon! I too like tarts and would probably make them on a more regular basis were it not for the usually heavy fillings. This has given me a good idea...

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great idea for a tart.. my husband has a cheese intolerance and would love it if I made this..Thanks

10:51 AM  

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