Almost a Pissaladière — Presque une pissaladière

Caramelized Onion and Fresh Anchovy Tart

“I feel tired, crevée (wrecked)”, I thought as I looked at our orange cuckoo clock in the dining room. The small plastic canary caged inside seemed to be staring at me. Why was he not moving? Stuck in time? It was Friday late afternoon and my body could still feel the cold day we had had. A clear, brisk and sunny day as I like them in winter. I had been courageous enough to walk to the swimming pool. I always need more mental strength to go for a swim when it is so cold outside, although I know that I will love the feeling left with me afterwards. Maybe this could have also explained why I was feeling tired. On Friday nights though, we enjoy starting the weekend slowly. Without any sense of rush, often not going out as we know that some restaurants can be noisy, but cozily staying in, going to bed later than usual and eating tasty nibble food. Since both P. and I were feeling unusually tired, the idea of staying in was pretty attractive. Qu’est-ce qu’on mange ?(what are we eating?) P. asked when he stepped in by almost seven O’ clock. “Ca sent bon” (it smells good), he added. “Une pissaladière, enfin presque”, I answered. I was making an interpreted version of a pissaladière.

A pissaladière is a French specialty from Nice which consists of onions, anchovies and black olives cooked on a bread dough. In fact, the word pissaladière comes from Pissalat — a provençal condiment made of puréed anchovies mixed with thyme, laurel, pepper, cloves and olive oil — spread on the tart dough before topping with the garnish. I like to make pissaladière often as I find them easy and delicious to have for a picnic or to bring at a party. Friday night though, I decided to make one with only what I had handy, that is little. Since I did not have pâte à pain, I used instead a batch of puff pastry made a few days before. I revisited the idea also using fresh anchovies bought earlier in the week, skipped the black olives and added seasoned rocket on top — and you must know by now that I am a fan of this addition on tarts. In the end, my pissaladière was deconstructed into a caramelized onion, rocket and anchovy tart.

Many people dislike anchovies. Most people have also only tasted canned anchovies before, which can hardly compare to fresh anchovies brined or marinated in oil. While traveling to Spain, I remember us eating them on almost a daily basis. They were cheap too. Whenever I am lucky to find them fresh at my local store, I always stock up on them because not only do I like to cook with them, but I can easily snack on them. Give me this good fish oil!

We decided to watch Baran, one of the long overdue Netflix movies that had arrived a few weeks back. It seemed the perfect match, providing quietness, perfectly fitted to the tranquil mood we were both in. I always find Iranian movies special, and this one was no exception. And we loved the pissaladière, whether authentic or not. When it came to eating and sharing the last piece, P. looked at me and asked: “Ben, y’en a plus après cela ?” (No more after this one?) “Non, désolée, prends-la ! (No, sorry. Take the last piece), I replied. “I will make some more tomorrow.”

I am good or what?

Caramelized Onion and Fresh Anchovy Tart

(For a 8 x 12 ” tart)

You need:

  • 9 oz puff pastry
  • 3 red onions
  • 4 Tbsp olive Oil
  • 2 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 twigs of thyme
  • 5 1/4 oz fresh anchovies, in brine or light oil
  • Bunch of fresh rocket seasoned with a vinaigrette (1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 3 Tbsp olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper


  • Slice your onions thinly.
  • Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil in a pan and add the onions with 2 tsp sugar and a few twigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat for 20 mns, uncovered.
  • Add 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for 15 mns.
  • Roll your puff pastry in a rectangular and prick it all over with a fork.
  • Preheat your oven at 420 F.
  • Place the onions on top of the tart, leaving one inch edge around. Cook for about 20 to 25 mns, until puffed and golden. Remove.
  • Place the fresh anchovies on top.
  • Top with rocket seasoned in vinaigrette.
  • Cut in squares and serve.
Le coin français
Tarte aux oignons caramélisés et anchois frais

(Pour une tarte mesurant 20 x 30 cm)

Ingrédients :

  • 250 g de pâte feuilletée
  • 3 gros oignons rouges
  • 4 càs d’huile d’olive
  • 2 càc de sucre de canne
  • 1 càs de vinaigre de balsamique
  • 3 brins de thym
  • 150 g d’anchois frais, dans une saumure ou huile légère
  • Roquette assaisonnée de vinaigrette (1,5 càs de vinaigre de balsamique et 3 càs d’huile d’olive)
  • Sel et poivre

Étapes :

  • Émincez finement vos oignons.
  • Faites chauffer 4 càs d’huile d’olive dans une sauteuse et ajoutez les oignons avec le sucre, le thym et du sel et du poivre. Faites cuire sur feu doux pendant environ 20 mns, à découvert.
  • Ajoutez 1 càs de vinaigre de balsamique et poursuivez la cuisson pendant 15 mns.
  • Étalez votre pâte en un rectangle et piquez-la avec une fourchette.
  • Péchauffez votre four à 220 C.
  • Placez les oignons sur la tarte en laissant un bord de 2,5 cm. Cuisez pendant environ 20 à 25 mns, jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit gonflée et dorée. Sortez du four.
  • Placez les anchois frais en croisillons.
  • Garnissez de roquette assaisonnée de vinaigrette.
  • Coupez en carrés et servez.
Posted in Appetizers, Fish, French Inspired, Tarts


  1. Beautiful! This looks delicious. I would love to taste really good anchovies……maybe someday.

  2. Being from Provence, I can’t begin to tell you how happy you made me tonight….!!! i wish I could find fresh anchovies, no such luck!

  3. j’adore ça!! et c’est vrai que ça sent si bon pendant la cuisson!! Par contre, je préfère un fond de pâte brisée plutot que feuilletée
    Et Bea, n’oublie pas le verre de vin rosé bien frais qui va avec (les anchois, ça donne soif 😉 !!)

  4. Yes, Béa, you are good and so is the pissaladiere. The swim might have allowed you to be so generous with the last piece.

  5. hi bea! there you are with the lovely tarts again! i admit, i would not be able to brave the anchovies, but i love the simplicity of the entire thing – way to go!
    hope you are well rested. 🙂

  6. Bon, la pissaladière, en fait, a un goût innimitable quand on la mange à Nice. A Cannes, elle n’a déjà plus le même goût ;o)
    Mais j’en fais quand même, pâte levée à l’huile d’olive et anchois en saumure… que je me fais rapporter de Collioure, où ils doivent ressembler à tes anchois espagnols !
    Il m’est arrivé d’en préparer en pâte feuilletée, en petits carrés pour l’apéritif, et c’est très très bon aussi. Ta recette à toi, avec ses oignons rouges, son vinaigre balsamique et sa petite roquette (je ne savais pas qu’on en trouvait aux EU) est une ode magnifique à la cuisine méridionale. Je la copie donc, et ferai ta “presque pissaladière” très rapidement !

  7. Bon alors une version sans anchois pour moi, je n’aime pas trop (meme pas du tout en fait). C’est superbe !!!


  8. These anchovies are the most fantastic ingredient and I try to get people to try them all the time! Beautiful looking dish.

  9. Hi Bea,

    I love fresh anchovies! Yes, they are nothing like can or marinated (although I love the spanish ones in olive oil). I love them grilled so the skin gets charred and crisp. It is hard to find them in Florida (with the coast that we have, I know this is hard to believe!).

  10. Hello Béa…bravo pour ton site qui est vraiment très beau et qui donne très envie de cuisiner!
    Pour la petite histoire, à la recherche d’une idée originale en prévision d’un dîner samedi soir, j’ai découvert la Tartine Gourmande et suis sous le charme….
    …car je suis Commissaire d’exposition indépendante spécialisée en photographie (j’ai été Responsable de la Galerie du Jour Agnès b. pendant 5 ans). J’ai créee en 1999 une Association Regard Contemporain qui promeut et diffuse les Arts Visuels. Amie de Jean-Louis Bloch-Lainé avec qui je ne désespère pas de présenter sa rétrospective, la photographie culinaire m’a toujours passionnée. Si tu as des projets en photographie et que tu souhaites rejoindre une équipe sympathique, je serai ravie de te présenter l’historique de Regard Contemporain. Je travaille actuellement sur un projet d’expo autour de portraits Malgaches datant de 1897 et qui a été sélectionné pour la 2ème Biennale de la Photo en Océan Indien en mai prochain.
    A très bientôt

    Béatrice Andrieux
    Commissaire d’exposition indépendante
    58 rue Henry Litolff
    92700 Colombes

  11. Béa, I too love fresh anchovies, a taste I’ve acquired thanks to a wife who will eat anchovies, fresh or preserved, at every meal if given the chance. I love how you’ve adapted the recipe to your ingredients, as well. I also think this would make a wonderful summer dish as well.

  12. You are too nice — I’d have eaten the last piece. I love pissaladiere and your version sounds great. How about a picture of the orange cuckoo clock?? I am trying to imagine it.

  13. Yum! Both my husband and I are big anchovy fans…difficult to find fresh ones here though. When we wnt to Spain we definitely feasted on them! I will have to try this tart combination…a sure winner!

  14. This looks awesome, I love anchovies and I always wonder why they get such a bad reputation. They are so wonderful and so is your creation!

  15. I always like anchovy, or any oily salty fish! Looking at the metalic slivery skin on your anchovies, I feel like I’m enjoying myself under the sun and in the sea! Provencal condiement… sound heavenly!

  16. Matt, oh I wish I could make it for you!

    Emilie, thank you. Hope you can indeed as they are delicious.

    Gina, Rocket is another name for arugula.

    Helen, I bet! 😉

    Avital, oui tu as bien raison, un bon verre de rosé avec cela!

    Yoyo, yes!

    Tanna, yes I guess you are right!

    Jeff, it is indeed, isn’t it?

    Iamchanelle, nice to see you back! Trust me, fresh anchovies have nothing to do with the super salty canned ones that most people are used to.

    Hélène, super! Marrant, j’ai de bons souvenirs de Collioure!

    Peggy, merci!

    Sylvie, je viens d’en manger au déjeuner!

    Claude, tu dois essayer, je t’assure! C’est complètement différent.

    Ptinfrance, this is a good thing! Then I am happy!

    Gracianne, oui quand tu veux!

    Pete, thank you! I totally agree with you. I am trying the same thing, convince friends!

    Julie, oh yes grilled, must be delicious.

    Veron, it is, isn’t it?

    Merci Béatrice. Ca me fait très plaisir. Je te tiens au courant.

    Rob, I think your wife and I would be good friends then!

    Chris, I think me too!

    Christine, excellent idea! I thought about the pic of the cuckoo clock too as a matter of fact. SO funny! I guess I will have to!

    Jenjen, thank you!

    Gattina, yes I know, this color is quite something, almost calling come and eat me!

    Sandi, thank you!

  17. I love anchovies-both fresh and canned. They add such a wonderful flavor to recipes. I often sneak them into stews, and never tell people who claim to hate them. They lift the flavors of other ingredients. Your pissaladière look marvelous!!!!!

  18. Oh I love love LOVE pissaladiere! I made one in the summer and never posted it – might be time to haul out that draft! I am one of those crazy people who likes anchovies in any form – I love the salty tinned ones in some things and I love the marinated vinegary ones in other things, so it’s only natural for me to love this 😉

  19. This is one of the first “tartes salées” I made in France — I don’t make them so much anymore because my daughters hate anchovies, but thanks for reminding me! Your blog is more beautiful than ever….

  20. i made pissaladiere for the first time for oscar night. it is so good, and i was happy that my friends with their american appetite loved it (i left the anchovies on half of them). I have never seen fresh anchovies in the US, I will have to look.
    Thank you for your great recipes.

  21. What a great set of recipes. I’ve been looking for a good pissaladiere recipe, and the caramelized onion tarte looks delish!

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