6.14.2014

Life Through Rosé-filled Glasses

I am well aware that, unlike asparagus, peaches and root vegetables, there is no ‘rosé season.’

But, for some reason, when the weather gets hot, we start thinking about that blush-hued nectar and one of us is bound to say, "It's rosé season!" It is only mid-June but our summer temperatures arrived a wee bit early - thus, the rosé has been flowing freely!

When we think of rosé, we think of Provence, the source of most of the finest rosés we have tasted.

I decided to make a light Provençal meal to go with one of our newly-purchased rosé wines. I looked for the perfect dish among several of my Provençal cookbooks - a pleasant task that brought back memories of the languorous summer days we spent in Lourmarin with Towny and Susan of The Modern Trobadors.

Several recipes caught my eye but one stood out, mostly because I had never made it and have always wanted to try: pissaladière.

I have not tried it because it calls for puff pastry. Until recently, I disliked ready-made frozen puff pastry from the supermarket. I had used wonderful store-bought versions in France, but not in the U.S. Now that I have found Dufour Puff Pastry, I am happy to use store-bought, but I really wanted to make my own for this recipe.

This was my first attempt at homemade puff pastry. I am eternally grateful to Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes for sharing her recipe. It has changed my life.

I made a batch of pastry (it makes about 2 pounds), of which I am using half for this recipe. I’ve frozen the remainder for another day's inspiration. Today seemed the perfect, warm, sunny desert day to pop the cork on a nice rosé, and try a new recipe. Pissaladière has come to town!

For those of you who hate anchovies, you can simply leave them off. We both love them, and they make the most wonderful pattern on the tart. The recipe also called for Niçoise olives but out friend Towny strongly recommended substituting Moroccan oil-cured olives. Good call, Towny!

If you use frozen puff pastry, I will not judge you. Really. My puff pastry issues are my own. Using packaged pastry makes this a really easy meal to put together. All you need to do is caramelize some onions, spread them on the pastry, decorate with anchovies and olives and pop it in the oven. It's a {summer} breeze, not a {winter} mistral!

Pissaladière is often served as an hors d’œuvres with aperitifs, but we find it makes a nice meal with a rosé, followed by salad and a simple cheese plate with some dried fruits and nuts.

Salut! Santé! L'été est arrivé! Life is good, when seen through a glass of rosé!

~ David

Pissaladière
A blend of several recipes.

2 tablespoons butter

3 1/2pounds yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 teaspoons Demerara sugar (raw sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (or click here for the recipe)
20-24 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained
10-15 Moroccan oil-cured olives, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and Demerara sugar and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions become tender and start to turn golden. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme and mix well. (Do not be tempted to add additional salt - both the anchovies and the olives bring plenty of salt to the recipe.) Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are wilted, very soft, and are well caramelized throughout.


Add the vinegar during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the onions from the oven and set them aside while preparing the pastry for the pissaladière. Let them come to room temperature. (Can be made ahead to this point 2 days in advance)


Raise the oven temperature to 425°F. Roll out the pastry to 13-inch x 19-inch rectangle. Place the pastry onto a 12-inch by 18-inch baking sheet, folding the edges of the pastry over about 1/2-inch to create a raised border. Spread the pastry with the onion confit up to the doubled edges. Arrange the anchovy filets in a harlequin (diamond) patter and place 1 pitted half-olive in the middle of each diamond. Bake it for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up, turned golden, and crisped.


Remove the pissaladière from the oven and sprinkle the olive oil and fresh thyme across the hot surface of the tart. Cut it into rectangles and serve very warm or at room temperature.


Serves 6 as a main course, 12 as an appetizer. 


49 comments:

  1. David - this is just beautiful! I'm actually making foccacia bread today - this post inspired me to add onions and olives to it too! Hope your spring has been going well :)

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    1. Thanks, Ahu! Your focaccia sounds wonderful - glad I was able to inspire its toppings!

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  2. Gorgeous, David! I refuse to buy PF puff pastry at the normal grocery store, so I'm with you on that. The first time I saw puff pastry made with butter at Trader Joe's, I almost flipped! I took it home and made sausage rolls right away, but was shocked when I took my first bite and they were SWEET! Who puts sugar in puff pastry? Shame on TJ's, they should have known better. Now they have it without sugar and it's not bad for bought dough, but homemade is always best!

    I've heard of pissaladière, but never had it before; as you know, my Dad loves anchovies, so I must make this for him next time we are together. Thanks for another great recipe!

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    1. Christina - I am glad I am not the one with with puff pastry issues! :) I think the all-butter varieties available will be good in a pinch, but making it yourself is so satisfying, and you can control all the ingredients. (I agree with you - who would put sugar into a puff pastry??)

      I hope you make this for your father, and that he enjoys it!

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  3. This looks absolutely scrumptious! :D

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    1. Thanks, Padaek! And so glad you dropped by!

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  4. Dear David, you made one beuatiful looking Pissaladière - it must evoke such memories for you and these are the best kinds of recipes, by far! Love all your photos, what a delight to look at all of them and what a lovely picture of that rolling pin.
    Beautiful food, fabulous post and wonderful French recipe!
    Hope you are enjoying a great Sunday!
    Liebe Grüsse von der ganzen "Truppe" hier,
    Andrea

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    1. I think this is a dish your family - or, as you say, der Truppe - would love, Andrea! If anchovies are an issue, they can be left off! Thanks for your kind comments, as always. Liebe Grüße von uns beide.

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  5. Hmmm.....I remember drinking a rose way, way back in my youth in the very early days of a ski resort in Colorado where my sister and I had escaped to, wanting to lead unorthodox lives. An "older" woman who employed my sister as a nanny introduced us to it. It was "Grenache Rose. I knew NOTHING at all about wine then and that rose suited my very novice palate. I had not thought about that rose for all those years. We also drank "Mateus," which came in a pottery looking jar. I wonder if they still make that one, too. I will google them.
    While I am remembering my early days in that resort, and the subject of puff pastry, I recall a baking course I took from a French baker back then. We did make puff pastry but I have not even tried it since then. Lazy me! I
    have wanted to make a pissaladiere since seeing it made on a TV cooking show. Now I will have to try it. Thanks for the delicious post and the memories!

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    1. It is fun to think back to the days of Mateus... my folks got Lancer's rosé and I never tasted it. I have to wonder if it was sweet or dry?

      Paula's quick puff pastry made me lose all fear of puff pastry. You really should give it a try, as I imagine it will be a lot easier than the baking course method!

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    2. Ooooohhh, I had forgotten about Lancer's! Yeah, we drank that, too.

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  6. Hi David, Your Pissaladière is much more elegant than the ones found in the Cafes in Provence! Thanks for the credit on the Moroccan oil-cured olives. Here is another tip...buy two bottles of rosé--one for the cooking process and another for the meal! I can get over the store-bought puff pastry after a bottle of rosé!

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    1. I don't know, Towny... I saw some pretty nice ones in Provence! Oh, and for your tip... must I stop at two bottles?

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  7. It's always Rose' season in Palm Springs. Lovely pairing with the Pissaldiere.

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    1. Christy - that is what we say here in Tucson, too. If the sun is shining, the rosé can be poured!

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  8. My life wouldn't be complete without anchovies. I sneak them in wherever I can! I like Towny's tip of buying to bottles of rosé!

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    1. John - I think Towny underestimates the number of bottles needed. Just sayin... I love anchovies, too - they are such useful little critters!

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  9. Wow David! very impressive making your own puff pastry, love the caramelized onions and the anchovies. It looks like each step you completed was made with love. Great post.

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    1. It was a lot of fun, Cheri - and the puff pastry wasn't hard at all! You should give it a try.

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  10. Fantastic! Congratulations on the puff pastry.... that's on my list to do for retirement... yours looks quite perfect. A lovely recipe... and I can just imagine how beautifully it teams with a glass of rose.

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    1. Liz - it really was quite easy. I had been putting it off for years and now I feel silly. Oh, and I will leave you a =note on Bizzy Lizzy, but the kaffir lime gelato was lovely last evening after our Indian meal.

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  11. This has been on my list to make for ages, if I wasn't so lazy about making my own puff pastry I probably would have made it by now :) Sadly I am lazy and I refuse to buy puff pastry so I will just have to admire yours from afar :)

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    1. Karen - this recipe is so easy - laziness can be accommodated! Really, you should give this quick puff paste a try!

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  12. I've never made homemade puff, mostly due to being lazy I think! I do love eating it though, and I definitely agree that there's nothing like homemade. This tart looks absolutely stunning David. Perfect for summer evenings on the patio with a glass of rose, indeed (as for me, I'm having red wine and woodfired pizza tonight... the winter alternative!) x

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    1. What is all this laziness I am hearing about in Australia - you are much more active and do so much more that I do. Laura - you could do this with great ease! I do love your winter alternative, though...

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  13. Beautiful! Love the design with the anchovies. Rose wine season (I love it all year long) is my favorite. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole - yes, we drink rosé all year long, too. :)

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  14. David, that is one gorgeous Pissaladière! Congrats on the puff pastry! It looks perfect! I love when I accomplish something new in the kitchen! I just made my first batch of macarons…hopefully I will get them posted soon. Have a great week!

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    1. I look forward to your macarons, Kathy. I have had the Pierre Herme book now for at last a year and have been too intimidated to try them!

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  15. Pissaladière is such a classic! Yours looks lovely. YUM!!! Tip for the lazy or time-challenged: I cheat and make mine with pizza dough from Whole Foods...

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    1. Thanks, Kirsten - aside form the pizza dough, good quality, all-butter frozen puff pastry works well, too.

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  16. Just discovered your blog and I'm very glad I id so!
    Creative, elegant recipes and charming writing.
    Will be back for the next post.

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    1. Daniela - thank you so much! I am so glad you found me, and your comment made my day!

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  17. Of course I love this "pie". I have a fennel and onion version (with the exact same grid pattern) in my first book Savory Pies. The funny name comes from the French word for pureed anchovies (pissalat). So I have to ask. Why would anyone leave out the anchovies and pass up the opportunity to say pissalat? GREG

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    1. Actually, Greg, a few days before this went live, my friend Susan (Modern Trobadors) asked me to translate a story from French about a man who runs a restaurant, and how his long-deceased grandfather appears in his kitchen giving him a hard time because he doesn't use pissalat when making pissaladière. After learning what pissalat really is (much worse than mere puréed anchovies), I think I will skip it, too, in favor of the criss-crossed fish! But it is fun to say often...

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  18. I have often thought about making pissaladiere ever since I saw it in a cook book many years ago. Yeah, still haven't done it. Your post inspires me to maybe give it a go this year. Last summer I started making an easy puff pastry that takes less than an hour to get together. Life changer, since I too dislike the chemical tasting store bought. Actually. I used my puff pastry to make a shallot tarte tatin, I guess similar to this! It was SO good. It has become quite hot here too, something I'm never ready for. I keep telling myself " only 2 months till September" . Keep cool and that rose flowing!! xx

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    1. Isn't it funny how a simplified recipe can really make such a big difference? Someday I should make the complicated version just to see how much it differs. I remember seeing your shallot tarte tatin - maybe one of the first posts of yours that I saw. Now I have to make it!

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  19. Pow! Take that, Pizza!
    David, this is gorgeous. I am not a fan of anchovies, but I know my hubby would swoon over this, especially with kalamatas.
    I'll have to treat it sometime.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful recipe.
    xoxo

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    1. Colette - you can pick off all the anchovies and give them to Shawn! :) Glad you like the recipe! (Sorry, pizza....)

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  20. I do completely agree with your "vie en rose" point of view.
    Charming post and a delightful pissaladière .
    I'm going to pin it.

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  21. Dear David,

    I don't have a sweet tooth so this savoury pissaladière suits me fine and I love anchovies too!

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    1. Hello, Chopin! Love your combination of food and music - nice to meet another fellow musician in the food blogosphere! Glad the pissaladière appeals - and your not having a sweet tooth? More for everybody else!

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  22. That looks amazing! I love every ingredient in it, I love a cold glass of wine... and I am so in awe of your puff pastry. Bravo! (to be read with a French accent instead of an Italian accent here) ;o))))

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    1. Well then, Fiona - Merci! Learning to make this pastry was great fun.

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    2. will have to try it sooner or later...

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    3. I was so afraid of it and now, looking back, I feel silly. You won't regret it!

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  23. This looks fantastic - thank you it has inspired me - instead of leaving the anchovies out i will add them into the onions to melt so you still get that umami taste ? i hope - just won't look as pretty as yours - Best regards Sharon

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    1. Hi Sharon - yes, you can max th eanchovies with the onions for the umami flavor, and I can pretty much assure you that you won't notice. You can also use anchovy paste of you are doing that... much less messy! In the really authentic, original pissaladière recipe, a fish paste was smeared on the pastry under the onions. So, I think anything goes! Thanks for stopping by!

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