Pissaladiere Nicoise Vegetarienne (Vegetarian Mediterranean-Style Onion Tarts)

Pissaladiere Nicoise Vegetarienne (Vegetarian Mediterranean-Style Onion Tarts) Recipe

In France, you can't start a proper meal without an appetizer. This recipe marks the start to my 4-course "French meal" in honor of the opening of the movie called "Julie and Julia".  I thought about making mini quiches, but I decided against it because of the vegetarians in the house who find them a bit eggy. I settled on making Pissaladière niçoise.

Pissala what, you say? Pissaladière niçoise is named after the city of Nice, located on the Mediterranean coast in southern France. The dish is composed of all the typical ingredients from the region such as black olives, onions, garlic and a bouquet garni (see tips). You can either use pizza dough or pastry dough. The only change I made is that I substituted nori for the anchovies. I know it's not traditional but none of the vegetarians in our house like anchovies. If you don't have a problem with them by all means, use them instead. They add additional flavor and complexity.


Yields: 8 servings

2 onions, thinly sliced
1 bouquet garni
3 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
6 cured black olives, sliced in thirds
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pinch red chili flakes
3 squares puff pastry dough (store-bought), thawed
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, for greasing the molds
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
2 cloves, freshly ground
1 nori sheet (or anchovies), cut into stick-shaped pieces
2 teaspoons curly parsley, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced onions. Separate and spread the onions. Add the whole garlic cloves and the bouquet garni. Lower the heat to simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes until the caramelized onions become almost like a compote. Season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and cloves. Keep stirring and let the onions cook for another 5-10 minutes. Transfer onto a platter and let cool completely. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the cloves of garlic.

Place the dough in 18 mini-shells previously buttered (or in one 9-inch pie pan). Dock the dough with a fork to prevent it from rising too much. The dough should be evenly spread on the mini-square mold and over flow a little on the sides, as it will shrink while baking.

Place about 2-3 teaspoons of the onion mixture in each mold. Top with a piece of nori and a slice of olive.

Bake for 5 minutes at 400°F, then lower the temperature to 375°F for another 10-12 minutes.

Before serving, garnish with some parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon appétit!


How to make a bouquet garni: The traditional bouquet garni is composed of a sprig of thyme, 2 bay leaves (torn in half), 1 small portion of leek (only the green part), a few curly parsley stems and a small stalk of celery. You can always tweak it by substituting some ingredients such as bruised lemongrass, basil, coriander or star anise. Gather all the ingredients in a square of cheesecloth and tie it with some twine. You can use it to flavor your sauces and broths.

I topped the caramelized onions with some nori (sushi sheets) to resemble the taste of anchovies but you don't have to. I made the same application for my vegetarian quinoa caviar.

You can add mashed capers to the caramelized onion mixture if you'd like a more acidic flavor to the tartlets.

For an Indian-inspired onion tart, check my pearl onion confit upside-down tart recipe.

Don't discard the remnants of puff pastry. Make some cheese twists the next day!

Pissaladiere Nicoise Recipe

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 4, 2009.


[-] YuMMy! - Guest-Miakoda
What perfect little bites! I love onions in any dish, this really is perfect :)

Miakoda Website Link
[ Posted at 2:41 AM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
I've been making the Pissladiere in the Martha appetizer cookbook for years. I LOVE those flavors. These little bit size ones are so perfect for a party!

Dana Website Link
[ Posted at 7:28 AM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
These tarts sound wonderful. I love seasoned caramelized onions, and it pastry, they must be TDF . I have often sub'd kalamata olives, chopped or mashed, where anchovies were called for in a recipe. They add just enough briney flavor with barely any texture.
[ Posted at 7:31 AM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Wow - Guest-LubnaKarim
Wow....that's an yum recipe...first time here....you have nice space....with yum recipes....love u r pics....very bright and clear.....

Logon to www.123greetings.com and select a card and it will give the HTML code for it......copy and paste in your blog....hope u got me....

Lubna Karim Website Link
[ Posted at 7:46 AM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
This is what I call a perfect bite!

elra Website Link
[ Posted at 10:55 AM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] Deliciously Fit - Guest-Lainie
I LOVE onions and I think those tarts look amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier to try to help me! I appreciate it!

Lainie Website Link
[ Posted at 1:50 PM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] For the Love of Cooking - Guest-Pam510
I am loving this recipe. Caramelized onions are my very favorite.

Pam Website Link
[ Posted at 2:58 PM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
These look absolutely lovely. I also think the substitution of nori for anchovies is so creative. I adore anchovies, though, so I'd definitely use the real thing.

Jen of a2eatwrite Website Link
[ Posted at 4:36 PM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
[-] cute - Guest-JessicaFoodmayhem
adorable little starters!

Jessica@Foodmayhem Website Link
[ Posted at 8:24 PM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
i can't wait to see Julie and Julia. i think it's gonna b a great film :) these tarts are beautiful and what a great starter. anything onion, gets my thumbs up! xx

diva Website Link
[ Posted at 10:15 PM on 8/4/09 | Reply ]
Yummie appetizers & so tasty too!

Sophie Website Link
[ Posted at 12:31 AM on 8/5/09 | Reply ]
These are fabulous appetizers! Excellent!

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Website Link
[ Posted at 5:05 AM on 8/5/09 | Reply ]
These sound awesome. I love tarts with caramelized onion. I've really been enjoying cooking French lately, by way of MTAOFC. Can't wait to see the movie.

Darina Website Link
[ Posted at 7:26 AM on 8/5/09 | Reply ]
Yum! I will try just about anything if it is wrapped in or on top of puff pastry.

Sara Website Link
[ Posted at 8:38 AM on 8/5/09 | Reply ]

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