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Painssaladière – Recycled Bread & Onion Tart

Adapted from On va déguster.
This recipe invites improvisation with different types of bread and cheese in the crust, which is tender and somewhat spongy, depending on how thick you make it (feel free to experiment with different pan sizes to find your perfect thickness). I've recently been tossing herbs into the crust batter for extra flavor, and particuarly like herbes de Provence with the onion topping.
I’ve only made the onion version so far, because I love it, but can imagine endless possibilities for the toppings, too. I always add anchovies (after baking), but, as you can see in the photo, I keep half anchovy-free for my son.
Excellent warm or at room temperature, the painssaladière, like the coca, is great for picnics.


For the onions

  • lb. (1.5 kg) yellow or white onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Leaves of 3 sprigs thyme and 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped (see Notes)
  • 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, or 1 tbsp colatura di alici (optional)

For the crust

  • oz. (125 g) stale bread (see Notes)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk or water
  • 3 tbsp (30 g) flour
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated hard cheese (see Notes)
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence or another herb (optional)
  • 1 egg

For the topping

  • Black olives, pitted or not
  • Drained anchovy fillets (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper


Prepare the onions

  • Thinly slice the onions.
  • Place the onions in a Dutch oven with the bay leaf, a few pinches of salt, and a generous drizzle of olive oil, if you like (see Notes). Cover and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, jammy and lightly golden, 1-2 hours (depending on the burner strength). Uncover toward the end of the cooking time to allow excess liquid to evaporate. (Don't reduce too much, though, as the onions will continue to cook in the oven.)
  • Stir in the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the anchovies or colatura di alici, if using.

Prepare the crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and grease a 12-inch (30-cm) tart pan with parchment paper. (I tried greasing the pan with oil as per the original recipe, and the tart stuck to the pan).
  • Cut or break the bread into big pieces and soak it in the milk for 15 minutes, until more or less softened. Stir and break up the bread more as necessary to ensure even soaking.
  • Drain any excess liquid (I’ve never had any), then process until smooth in a food processor or blender.
  • Stir in the flour and grated cheese until well incorporated. Add the herbes de Provence, if using. Taste for salt, then stir in the egg.
  • Spread the batter across the base of your tart pan in a more-or-less even layer with the back of a spoon or by pressing with plastic wrap—the batter is quite sticky.
  • Blind-bake the crust for about 15 minutes, until completely set and lightly golden around the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and cover with the onions.
  • Arrange the olives over the top. If you’re using anchovies, you can add them here, too—I personally prefer to add them after baking.
  • Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the onions and crust are golden.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. The times I’ve made this tart, I haven’t had the fresh herbs on hand, so have used about 1 tsp of herbes de Provence with good results.
  2. I suppose you could use all shades of stale bread here, from slightly stale to hard as a rock. I’ve always used the latter. And I’ve only used French-type breads in the recipe, rather than sandwich bread, but it’s worth a try. Combinations of white and multigrain breads work well, too.
  3. As for the cheese, I’ve always used Parmesan, because that’s what I typically have on hand, but the original recipe suggests cheeses like Cantal, Salers and sheep’s milk Tomme.
  4. The original recipe says to cook the onions in their own juices without adding oil, but I always add a good drizzle.