Pissaladière, the traditional tomato, olive, and anchovy tart of Nice, is found everywhere along the Côte d’Azur, sold by the piece in pastry shops, on the street, and in cafés and bistros. It has made its way north, too, and is often served as a plat du jour in cafés, along with a green salad. Its heady blend of ingredients makes it a delicious and satisfying dish. Once you make and taste this, you’ll be transported to the Mediterranean and will simply luxuriate in the rich, savory flavor.
1 recipe Tender Tart Pastry (recipe below)
2 pounds (1 kg) onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slightly underripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thin slices
18 anchovy fillets
20 cured black olives, with pits
Tender Tart Pastry
1½ cups (205 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks; 180 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
5 to 6 tablespoons (80 to 95 ml) ice water
To make the tender tart pastry:
Place the flour and salt in a food processor and process once to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the 5 tablespoons of ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to hold together. If the pastry seems dry and dusty, add the remaining 1 tablespoon water.
Tip out the pastry from the food processor to your work surface and form it quickly, without touching it too much, into a flat round. Cover it with a bowl and let it rest on the work surface for at least 30 minutes. The pastry can sit for several hours at room temperature, as long as the room isn’t warmer than 68°F (20°C). The pastry is now ready to use.
To bake the pastry:
Roll out the pastry to fit a 9½-inch (24 cm) removable-bottom tart pan. There will be pastry overlapping the tart pan. Trim it, then crimp the edges. Reserve any excess pastry for another use. Chill the pastry for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
To bake the pastry, pierce it all over with the tip of a sharp knife, line it with aluminum foil and pastry weights or dried beans, set it on a baking sheet, and bake in the center of the oven until the edges are golden about 12 minutes. Remove the pastry from the oven, remove the weights, and return the pastry to the oven. Bake until the bottom is a pale golden, about 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the filling:
Place the onions and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Toss so the onions are coated with the oil and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely tender and sweet, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the onions to the prebaked shell, spreading them evenly across the bottom.
Arrange the tomato slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles over the onions. Arrange the anchovy fillets atop the tomatoes, making nine crosses with them. Evenly distribute the olives on the top, pressing them gently into the other tart ingredients so they don’t roll off. Carefully place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake until the tart is heated through and slightly golden on top and the tomatoes are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven and remove the sides of the pan. Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Remind diners that the olives in the tart have pits in them.
The ideal anchovy for pissaladière is that from the tiny fishing port of Collioure on the Mediterranean coast of France. You can find it in the United States in both brick-and-mortar and virtual specialty shops.
Small Niçoise olives are perfect here, but if you cannot find them, use the finest brined black olives you can find. Why include the pits? It’s a question of quality here in France-an olive worth the name always has a pit in it, and the French cook doesn’t take the time to remove it. If you leave the pits in the olives, warn your guests.