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Olive Tapenade Tart with Caramelized Red Onions

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Serves six as a starter or four as a light lunch.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 103

Tapenade is a savory condiment most often made from olives, capers, anchovies, lemon, and olive oil. Here, it’s used to delicious effect in a riff on the Provençal onion-olive-anchovy pizza called pissaladière.

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 medium red onions, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (7-1/3 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup jarred brined olives, rinsed, pitted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • 1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil with the butter over medium heat. Add the anchovies, pepper flakes, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant and the anchovies begin to break down, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let them cool slightly, and then gently stir in the parsley and 1/2 Tbs. of the thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a small food processor, pulse 3/4 cup of the olives, the garlic, lemon juice, zest, and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1/2 Tbs. thyme into a coarse paste. Set the tapenade aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Dock the pastry by pricking it all over with a fork, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Spread the olive tapenade evenly on the pastry within the border. Top with the onions, dollops of the ricotta, and the remaining 1/4 cup olives.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1/2 tsp. water. Brush the pastry border with the egg wash and bake the tart until the pastry is puffed, deep golden-brown on the edges, and light golden-brown on the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool briefly and serve warm.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 220; Fat (g): fat g 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 140; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4.5; Protein (g): protein g 10; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1370; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 50; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

We made up a modified version of this over the weekend, using phillo dough instead of the puff pastry for the crust. On the whole, I thought that it fairly tasty, though my wife was less fond of the anchovies with the onions. I realize it diverges further from the original theme, but perhaps some sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers mixed in with the tapenade?

I love Fine Cooking and write reviews often. I've never been so disappointed. Everything sounded great and I'm usually pretty good at figuring out what's going to be awesome before I start. This I really expected to be fantastic. We took one bite and threw it all in the garbage. I would love to hear from someone else to see what their thoughts are. It won't stop me from trying the next one!

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