Monday, December 15, 2014

O is for Onions and Olives

french village diaries alphabet advent calendar onions olives pissaladiere
French food alphabet advent calendar
Welcome to today’s post in my French Food Alphabet Advent Calendar series - a foodie’s countdown to Christmas Day, sharing posts including French regional specialities, my personal favourite foods, and some new recipes. I hope you are enjoying your virtual tastings.

It’s the 15th December and O is for Onions and Olives.

There is nothing quite like the flavour of onions gently softened in butter and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I rarely cook a main meal that doesn’t contain onions and as much as I love my daily coffee and dark chocolate, I think if I had to choose between onions and chocolate, I would pick onions.

I have previously written about the pink onions from Roscoff and shared a French onion soup recipe here. So today I’m combining onions with olives in a delicious tart called a Pissaladière, one of my favourite recipes from Rick Stein's French Odyssey.

French Village Diaries alphabet food advent calendar onions olives pissaladiere recipe
Pizza base (see here for my recipe)
50ml olive oil
A knob of butter
1.5kg of onions, thinly sliced
A bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary)
Anchovy paste
6 to 8 anchovy fillets, halved
Black olives, enough to decorate
Salt and pepper

Using a frying pan with a lid, cook the onions (seasoned with the bouquet garni, salt and pepper) in the oil and butter for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue cooking until all the moisture has evaporated, then discard the bouquet garni.

Roll the dough out to a rectangle and place it on an oiled baking tray 30 x 37.5cm. Spread with a thin layer of anchovy paste and then spread the onions evenly over the top leaving a small border around the edges. Criss-cross the top with the anchovy fillets and dot with the black olives. Leave to rise slightly for 15 mins and then bake in a pre-heated very hot oven for 15 to 20 mins. The crust will have browned and the onions will have caramelized to perfection. Serve warm and enjoy the heavenly combination of freshly baked bread and soft, sweet onions.

For more information on olive production in France see my review of An Olive Oil Tour of France by Alice Alech.

Don’t forget to pop back tomorrow for the letter P, our locally produced aperitif. If you have missed my previous advent posts you can catch up by clicking on the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M and N

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