Photograph by Ed Anderson
Cut this tart into 2-by-3-inch squares and it becomes a pass-around finger food appetizer. Or slice it into larger portions, like pizza, and serve it alongside a salad for a light meal or first course. In Nice, France, where we used to live, the locals top the tart with anchovies and call it pissaladière, but we like it best without the little fish. Note that you can serve this tart hot, warm or at room temperature, all with excellent results!
For the tart crust, we use a mixture of all-purpose and high-gluten flours. You can also substitute bread flour for both flours. The dough will need to rise for a few hours, during which time you can prepare your topping.
When it comes to wine, this onion tart is quite versatile. It pairs equally well with both reds and whites. If you’re starting off with the tart as an appetizer, offer your guests a white wine like bubbly or perhaps a glass of crisp Chardonnay. The caramelized onions have a hint of sweetness — great with Riesling or Moscato.
Makes about 36 tartlets or 4 main-course servings
For the tart dough:
1 envelope (¼ ounce; 2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1¼ cups warm water
½ cup high-gluten flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl and pans
For the tart topping:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 teaspoons dried thyme
6 large onions, thinly sliced
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
30 to 40 pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives
1) Make the tart dough: In a large bowl, combine the yeast with 1 cup of the warm water. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the high-gluten flour. Add the all-purpose flour, salt and olive oil. Stir until a sticky dough begins to form on the bottom of the bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup warm water and, using your hands, shape the dough into a large ball. When your hands become sticky, dust them with a little all-purpose flour.
2) Knead the dough in the bowl by pushing it down with the heel of your hand and then pulling it together in a mound. Repeat until the dough becomes firm yet elastic, about 5 minutes.
3) Lightly oil the surface of another large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature to rise for 2 hours. It should double in size.
4) While the dough is rising (during the second hour), make the tart topping: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme to the oil, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions, separat¬ing the slices with a wooden spoon and stirring to coat them evenly with the oil and thyme. Add the salt and the pepper and stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the onions are soft, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
5) Preheat the oven to 500° F. Get out two nonstick 12- to 14-inch round pans or two nonstick 9-by-13-inch baking sheets or pans. If the pans are not nonstick, oil each with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and set it on a floured work surface. Cut it in half and use a rolling pin to roll out two crusts that will fit your pans. Raise the edge of each crust with your thumbs to make a rim.
6) Spread the cooked onions and the olives evenly over each tart crust. Bake until the outer crust is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cut into 2-by-3-inch pieces to make appetizer portions (or cut in quarters to serve as a main course).
Excerpted from “The Covenant Kitchen” by Jeff Morgan and Jodie Morgan. Copyright © 2015 by Jeff Morgan and Jodie Morgan. Excerpted by permission of Schocken, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.