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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pissaladières (French caramelized onion tarts)

We already ranted about how much we love red onions and how intensely flavored they are compared to yellow ones. If you haven't heard it from us already we'll say it again: red onions are really really yummy and great. And when they're caramelized with a little sugar and vinegar they're even more enhanced... which makes these little elegant hors d'oeuvres in a word sublime. The rich flavor of black olives and the freshness of chives balances them wonderfully. 
Adapted from here (without the anchovies, we wanted to try the vegetarian version and most of all to keep the red onions and black olives as the main flavors).
A must must must must try :D.

More French goodies:
Oeufs Cocotte;

Gougeres (French cheese puffs);
French onion soup.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 3 medium red onions (ours were 223 g, up to 250 g should be fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20 black olives, pitted (Spanish black olives are better)
  • 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry (one was about 275 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 15 g fresh chives

Get the onions:

Peel them and chop in half:

Cut each half in slices, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add them on low heat:

Add the thyme:

Mix and cover the pan (but not completely, leaving it slightly ajar). Let them cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the black olives into thin slices:

.. until you've finished them all (count them carefully, there should be 20 :P):

Preheat the oven to 205 degrees Celsius or gas 6. Roll out the puff pastry number one:

Using a large glass (diameter about 7 cm) cut out circles from the dough:

Put a baking paper sheet on a large tray and put each circle of pastry on it after cutting it. Prickle each with a fork all over to prevent over-swelling:

When the tray is full, put them in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. After baking them, cut out the next batch, load it on the tray and bake those as well.
In the meantime, the onions are probably cooked. Take off the lid from the frying pan, sprinkle the sugar in it and then the vinegar:

Cook for 5-7 minutes more, stirring constantly to get everything caramelized and coated. Add the olives:

Cook for 2 more minutes, then put pan away. Wash and finely chop the chives:

When all the little tarts are baked, assemble the pissaladières by topping each pastry circle with a spoonful of onion and olive mixture:

Then top each one with a teaspoonful of minced chives. Everything is done, dig in! :)

Note: Don't discard the pastry scraps you have left, you can use them for some easy-made Romanian Saratele (salty crackers, like we did to use up the remaining pastry when making the British pigs in a blanket).

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