Before I made these tartlets I knew exactly what I had in mind for them. I wanted these little beauties to taste like a combination of French Onion Soup and Pissaladière, but in bite-sized quiche form. (Incidentally, in honor of Pissaladière I would have added a couple of minced anchovies to the mix, had I had them on hand. Feel free to do so if you like.) They’re great to snack on and they make a lovely hors d’oeuvre before a nice meal.
(Yield: 12 tartlets, about 4 servings)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter, plus more to butter the pan
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 c sliced)
2 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded (divided)
1 large egg
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh minced thyme (or about 1/8 tsp dried thyme)
2 large black olives (such as Kalamata or Niçoise), minced (about 1 TB)
3 (7 by 7-inch) sheets thick phyllo dough*
1 TB fresh chopped parsley (garnish)
Mini muffin pan that holds 12 mini muffins
To a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter; when the butter is melted, add the onions and cook until caramelized (until they’re dark brown and soft), stirring occasionally. If the pan gets too dry or the onion starts to burn (blacken) instead of caramelizing, add water 1 TB at a time and turn the heat down a touch. Let the onions cool slightly.
Set aside 1/2 oz shredded cheese and save for topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining 1 1/2 oz cheese, egg, mustard, thyme, and olives. Stir in the onions once cooled slightly.
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a mini muffin pan with butter. Stack the 3 sheets of phyllo dough on top of each other; cut into 4 equal pieces, so that you end up with 12 squares of dough. Push each piece of phyllo into a mini muffin well, then lightly spray phyllo with cooking spray. Bake the phyllo shells for 5 minutes.
Spoon the onion mixture into pre-baked phyllo shells and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 oz cheese on top. Bake 8 minutes, or until phyllo is browned and crispy and cheese is melted. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.
(To Reheat: Preheat oven to 325F. Put tartlets on a baking sheet and bake 5-10 minutes, just until warm.)
*Thick phyllo dough is available in the freezer section of most Middle Eastern groceries. If you can’t find it, you can use a double or triple layer of regular phyllo dough.