Pissaladiére: Vegetarian Style

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Vegetarian version of Julia Child’s classic Pissaladiére Niçoise onion tart.

Pissaladiére Niçoise - Vegetarian Style: The Wimpy Vegetarian


Julia Child has been an inspiration to a generation of women. A woman with a mind of her own, who was fearless, and completely embraced life. A woman who began a new career later in life, and ended up revolutionizing the way American women cooked.

I didn’t pursue cooking as a sport until later in life, and have often thought about the choice Julia made long ago in Paris to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu. That decision led to private study with a series of well-known chefs, and ultimately to Cercle des Gourmettes, where she met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she formed long friendships and fruitful partnerships. A naturally flowing series of events and coincidences that became the building blocks of a thriving career and satisfying life. I’ve wondered, at what point did she realize the impact she was having?

At what point do any of us?

We are all building our lives, one event at a time, one decision at a time. Opportunities and possibilities intersect our path every day, many of which we don’t give deep thought to. We react with gut instinct. We choose a college because it’s in a cool area with lots of skiing, or at the beach. We major in something because of nothing more substantial than the first couple of classes seem interesting, or our boyfriend is taking those classes. We choose this job, because we didn’t get that one. We move across the country to see new horizons. It’s only in looking back that we realize which of those decisions were life-changing, major forks in the road that set us on the path that made the difference.

In honor of Julia Child’s upcoming 100th birthday on August 15, I have joined in on #SundaySupper’s celebration of her life, and chose a classic French recipe from her Volume I Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of my bibles when I was in culinary school. Pissaladiére Niçoise is France’s version of a pizza: with onions, anchovies, and Niçoise black olives. The name stems from the word pissala, which is a paste made from fresh, young anchovies and sardines, layered with salt, spices, and olive oil. Another way of breaking down the word Pissaladiére is piscus, meaning fish, and sal, meaning salt. Hence the anchovies. But, my husband is very allergic to the tiny fish, so I substituted roasted red peppers and capers and did a vegetarian version I hope you like. I also used a pâte brisée with a little blue cheese for the crust to create a sharper contrast with the onions. But the biggest secret to this tart is a slow saute of the onions to heighten their natural sweetness.

Pissaladiere Nicoise : The Wimpy Vegetarian

Pissaladiére Niçoise – Vegetarian Style

     by Susan Pridmore


Pâte Brisée

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup cold water, or more as needed

Pissaladière Niçoise

  • 2 pounds yellow onions, sliced very thinly
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 herb bouquet of 2 – 3 bunches of fresh thyme tied in cheesecloth
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers plus 1 teaspoon of the brining liquid
  • 10 niçoise olives, pitted, halved (kalamata olives work just fine)


Pâte Brisée

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blue cheese all at once and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Do not overdo this step as the fat will be blended more thoroughly later.

Add the water and pulse 10 – 12 times until the mixture starts to come together as a dough. It will still be very crumbly.

Spill it out onto a lightly floured workspace, and press and slide the heel of your hand through the mixture 3 times. This technique is called fraisage, and effectively creates layers of fat that translate into a beautiful flakey crust.

Form the dough into a single large disk and wrap it in wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the dough as quickly as possible due to it’s high butter content. I posted tips with photos for rolling out dough here.

Fold the rolled out dough in half, and in half again, and carefully place in the base of a tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently tuck the dough into the fluted edges, allowing the dough to be 1/2″ above the sides of the tart pan. The dough will have some shrinkage.

Line the tart with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes at sea level, 12 minutes at 6500 feet above sea level, or until the edges of the pâte brisée begin to set up. Remove the pie weights and the parchment paper, prick the bottom of the shell with a fork to keep the dough from rising, and continue to bake for 2 – 3 minutes at sea level, 5 minutes at 6500 feet above sea level. When the shell is starting to brown, remove it from the oven. Set aside while you prepare the Pissaladiére Niçoise.

Pissaladiére Niçoise

Cook the onions very slowly in the olive oil with the herb bouquet, smashed garlic, and salt for about one hour, or until a golden brown and very tender. Discard the herb bouquest. Stir in the cloves and pepper, and adjust for seasoning. Remove from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any bits of onion that have cooked onto the bottom of the pan. There’s a lot of flavor there!

Spread the onions evenly on the bottom of the Pâte Brisèe.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the red pepper into long thin slices, toss with a little olive oil, and roast for 15 minutes. Add the capers and brine and continue to roast for another 15 minutes.

Arrange the pepper strips on top of the onions in a pattern. Sprinkle the capers on top.

Arrange the olives in a pattern on the tart.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Return the tart to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at sea level, 20 minutes at 6500 feet above sea level, or until bubbling hot.

Serve warm.

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This week’s #SundaySupper in honor of Julia Child’s 100th Birthday is being hosted by Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen. Join us this week Around the Family Table for #SundaySupper! That fun starts at 3pm EST with these fabulous recipes being showcased and ends with our #SundaySupper live chat at 7pm EST. This is a #SundaySupper you don’t want to miss!
#CookForJulia Breakfast

Râpée Morvandelle- Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Croissants – Cookistry

Eggs Baked in Ramekins (Oeufs en Cocotte à la crème) – cbsop.com

Cheese and Bacon Quiche – Tora’s Real Food

#CookForJulia Lunch

Tuna Salad Nicoise – Magnolia Days

Potato and Onion Soup (Potage Parmentier) – Shockingly Delicious

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Rocket Salad – Granny’s Down Home Southern Cooking

Croque Monsieur – Webicurean

Spinach and Cream Cheese Pancakes – Happy Baking Days

Julia’s Chicken Salad – My Trials in the Kitchen

Pissaladière Niçoise (Onion Tart with Anchovies and Black Olives) – The Wimpy Vegetarian

Provencal Tomato Quiche – Are You Hungry?

Quiche Lorraine and Mixed Green Salad – Spoon & Saucer

#CookForJulia Dinner

Bouillabaisse – The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Boeuf Bourguignon – Chelsea’s Culinary Indulgence

Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages – Doggie at the Dinner Table

Boeuf Bourguignon – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms with Baked Cucumbers and Boiled Potatoes (Blanquette de veau a l’ancienne with concombres au buerre) – Kimchi Mom

Salmon en Papillote – Girlichef

Poached salmon with cucumber sauce – Katherine Martinelli

Lobster Souffle and Deviled Chicken – Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends

Roasted Chicken with Julia’s Mustard Marinade – The Meltaways

Wild Mushroom and Herb Stuffed Chicken – Mama Mommy Mom

Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs (Brandade á la Soissonaise) – Avacado Pesto

Julia’s Kunming Connection: Chinese Steampot Chicken – My Kitchen and I

Poulet au Porto – Family Foodie

#CookForJulia Sides

Hollondaise over Blanched Asparagus – The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois) – Home Cooking Memories

Ratatouille – Basic n Delicious

French-style country pate- There and Back Again

Oeufs à la Diable – What Smells So Good?

Soubise – The Weekend Gourmet

Ratatouille – Cupcakes & Kale Chips

#CookForJulia Desserts

Cream Cheese and Lemon Flan – Juanita’s Cocina

Strawberry Sherbert in Cooky Cups – Cravings of a Lunatic

Creme Brulee – Wine Everyday

Mousseline Au Chocolat – Small Wallet Big Appetite

Peach Tarte Tatin – That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Cinnamon Toast Flan – Vintage Kitchen Notes

Dark Chocolate Crepes – Family Spice

Crepes Fines Sucrees – Mangoes and Chutney

Pommes Rosemarie: Apples Rosie – The Daily Dish Recipes

Espresso Soufflé – Chocolate Moosey

Best Ever Brownies – In the Kitchen with Audrey

Orange-Almond Jelly Roll Cake – MrsMamaHen

Orange Spongecake Cupcakes – Mama’s Blissful Bites

Orange Mousse with Greek Yogurt – Sue’s Nutrition Buzz

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pops – Big Bear’s Wife

Wine Pairings – Relishing Food and Wine; Thanks to Julia Child! ENOFYLZ

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  1. says

    Looks great!

    And I agree with you 100% about the decisions and choices we make. As haphazard and random they may seem in the moment, I think it all leads us to a place we never expected. And hopefully, that “place” is a good place!

    • says

      It’s really so amazing when we look back on things – even things that at the times we thought we weren’t getting what we needed. I find it’s always turned out better than I could have imagined for myself.

    • says

      Thanks Kim! I hadn’t made this before either, but have had an onion tart in mind to make for a few months. I don’t know why it took this event to get me in gear to make it, but it did. And I’m glad – it really was so good.

  2. says

    What a lovely recipe you chose and your photos have my taste buds tingling. Love your addition of blue cheese, too. I enjoyed this post immensely – it’s remarkable to look back and see how our choices influence where we end up, and then to look forward in anticipation of what is still to come. Life is full of chapters! Nicely done.

  3. says

    Thanks for reminding us about Julia’s 100th birthday–it almost (I’m not sure how) slipped my mind! My gal pal and I had a Julia Child afternoon last week, so I’m definitely going to have to post something from then to celebrate on the 15th. I also love your veggie-friendly variations and the whole concept behind your blog; going “flexitarian” makes me sound like a body-builder, but it’s something I also really support and believe in. Thanks again for sharing, and hey–bon appetite!


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