French Onion Tart

I’m a cookbook junkie.  I have around 40 cookbooks on my kitchen shelf, and I subscribe to a cooking magazine as well.  I am the proud owner of more recipes than I could possibly ever make.  And yet, I still want more.  I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks, especially those that are a little out of the ordinary.  On a recent trip to the library, I came across this cool little gem, “They Draw and Cook,” a collection of recipes illustrated by artists from around the world. Being an artist who likes to cook, my little heart went pitter pat and I snatched it up.

The illustrations are wonderful, ranging from simple, whimsical, hilarious, to downright beautiful.  The recipes trended toward the very basic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, they only had a 2-page spread to illustrate and explain the recipe.  And a basic recipe from Sweden or Russia is still new to me. I enjoyed seeing favorite recipes from different parts of the world.  And some of them just made me laugh.  For instance, one that I can identify with: “Starving Artist Goo-lash – for when you just can’t eat another ramen noodle.”  By the way, there is also a companion website:

Starving Artist Goo-lash.

Starving Artist Goo-lash. Been there!

Or this unfamiliar, yet somehow intriguing concoction – “Palt”.  It has potatoes in it, could it be bad?  I must find someone Swedish to ask about this.

Palt? I'm a little unsure, but part of me really wants to try it!

And this one just sounds yummy, plus I LOVE the illustrative style.

Pan-Fried Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce. Need to make!

I chose to make a French dish called Pissaladiere.  It’s basically a French onion tart.  Who can resist puff pastry? Mine turned out gorgeous, just like the picture in the book.  I thought it tasted good too.  The onions are cooked slowly, very much how you would make them for French Onion soup, bringing out their natural sweetness. If I make this again, I would do a few things differently.  I’m sure a French person would be mad at me for messing with their old fashioned comfort food, but I would probably add some additional toppings – tomatoes would be yummy, and maybe zucchini?  And I would cut the amount of anchovies at least in half, and chop them up so you didn’t get so much in one bite.  They made a beautiful design, but they are very salty, so leaving them whole made for a very concentrated salty bite here and there.  I think with anchovies, at least for me, a little goes a long way.  Another name for this recipe could be “Date Repellent.”  Luckily, I wasn’t dining with anyone I wanted to breathe on later.

French Onion Tart - "Pissaladiere"

“Pissaladiere” – French Onion Tart
(from They Draw & Cook, by Nate Padavick & Salli Swindell) 

Puff Pastry, thawed
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 onions
1-2 cans anchovies, drained
Olives – the recipe calls for Nicoise olives, I used Kalamata – I think any kind would work fine

Place the puff pastry sheets on a cookie sheet – I used both sheets of puff pastry to fill up the whole tray.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan.  Add onions.  Cook over very low heat until golden and soft (this takes 45 -60 minutes).  Cool. Spread over pastry.  Arrange anchovies in a criss cross pattern like the picture.  Put an olive in the middle of each shape.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350˚.  Cool 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and eat.

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6 thoughts on “French Onion Tart

  1. Sharayah says:

    Oh my! That cookbook looks delightful!

    • aprilarnold says:

      It is! I think you would love it. If you come across any used copies in your book travels, let me know. Also, on the website you can contribute your own illustrated recipe. Summer project!

  2. Valerie says:

    I am a big fan (and collector) of cookbooks myself. This one looks fun. I’m sure with potatoes in it, how can the 2nd recipe steer you wrong? I will be waiting for that blog soon to come ( I hope)

  3. What a great cookbook – like you, I have plenty and enjoy reading them in the same way as novels! I love this recipe and am a huge anchovy fan, so would especially like the slices with a big piece of anchovy please 🙂

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