Pop-In-Your-Mouth Appetizer

January 8, 2010


Everyone needs a good appetizer recipe in their back pocket, right?  For party food, I am currently enamored with things that can be picked up and popped in the mouth rather than things that require a plate and a fork.  I have done three parties in the last six months (one was mine, two I catered) where only finger food was served.  I made a different version of this Pissaladière for two of those parties, but this one is even easier and less messy.

The first time I made these mini tartlets was for my rehearsal dinner just over seven years ago.  Randy and I had both been married before and we had both had the big fat wedding the first time around.  We decided to do something very small and personal and to have the wedding on Lopez Island which, if you read this site, you  know is very near and dear to my heart.  A small group of friends and our families caravaned over on ferries to spend the weekend with us on the island. tronweekly.com

We had the rehearsal dinner at our family’s little house.  I use the term “rehearsal dinner” lightly because there was no rehearsal.  Our wedding was non-traditional and informal so there was no need to rehearse anything.  We had no attendants and we had a Universal Life Minister ferry over from another of the islands to marry us.  My dad did not walk me down the aisle (Randy did) and we asked that everyone contribute a heart gift – something to share with us from their heart.  Some people read the vows from their own weddings, my sister-in-law did a Nepalese love dance, a friend impersonated Dr. Ruth, and my brother Michael read an old passage from his journal about how much he loved his sister.  Everyone cried at that one.

Anyway, the night before the big night, everyone came to our house for a dinner cooked by me.  I remember all the appetizers but I have no memory of what I served as a main course.  I was a good cook then – I am a much better and more organized cook now.  Still, I did pretty well.  I got everything up there without leaving anything behind.  I was smart enough to out-source dessert to a very good baker, and we had plenty of wine and beer.  I loved these mini onion tartlets and can’t believe it has taken me theses many years to make them again.


One Year Ago: Poblano-and-Cheddar-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms (This is a favorite of mine.)

Petites Pissaladieres

Adapted from Gourmet
Makes 36 tartlets

1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-oz. package), thawed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and very thinly sliced lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12 1/2-inch square, then trim the edges to form a 12-inch square.  Prick sheet all over with a fork.  Cut into 36 (2-inch) squares and and transfer to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes total.  Transfer to racks to cool until just warm.

While pastry is baking, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet until hot but not smoking, then cook the onion with salt and pepper stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the thyme half way through cooking time.

Lightly brush tops of pastry squares with remaining tablespoon olive oil.  Make a small indentation in center of each square with your finger, then top each with 1 teaspoon onion mixture and a few olive slivers.  Sprinkle squares with fresh thyme.

(Pastry squares can be baked 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  Reheat in a 350ºF oven 6 minutes before topping.  Onion mixtures can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.  Reheat over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through, about 10 minutes.)


  1. That is a good appetizer to have on my list. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

    Comment by Maria — January 8, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  2. Yes, I could pop more-than-one-in-my-month for sure… These look excellent Dana! What a wonderful post and recipe… Thank you!

    Comment by Viviane Bauquet Farre / food & style — January 8, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  3. oooohhhh those mushrooms from your link look incredible! Not a big pastry fan myself but i know they always go over well, yours are adorable.I love anything in a big mushroom, definitly want to make that.

    Comment by Sara — January 8, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  4. Mmm, one bite of that would make me feel like I’m in heaven. :)

    Comment by Sook — January 9, 2010 @ 6:09 am

  5. It’s got onions; I’m there. And now, some cheek:

    “Everyone needs a good appetizer in their back pocket, right?”

    I prefer a good appetizer in my mouth, but I guess if you don’t have time right now . . .

    “For party food, I am currently enamored with things that can be picked up and popped in the mouth rather than things that require a plate and a fork.”

    That’s because you can eat more that way. *nods*


    Comment by Jess — January 9, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

  6. Love onions and olives on puff pastry! Great finger food!

    Comment by veron — January 10, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  7. These look quite delicious, Dana – I have a few parties coming up . . . mmmmm

    Comment by Penny — January 10, 2010 @ 5:44 am

  8. I agree completely about finger food for parties. It’s so much easier! And, your wedding sounds like exactly what a wedding should be: personal and moving for making great memories.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — January 10, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  9. Just darling. I love onion tarts in any form!

    Comment by Koek! — January 11, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  10. I agree with the one-bite appetizer rule. Of course there are always exceptions, but it does make things a little less awkward when juggling food and drinks while mingling! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your wedding. Small and personal sounds just perfect!

    Comment by fresh365 — January 11, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

  11. Love the one bite appetizers…these look absolutely delicious :-)

    Comment by Juliana — January 11, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

  12. i love that randy walked you down the isle and i can only imagine what a memorable, heartfelt weekend it was on lopez. i’ll take a perfect savory (or sweet) anytime over anything require fork or spoon. and btw, my husband has a similar penchant for mexican food as yours. fish tacos. it’s always fish tacos.

    Comment by giao — January 12, 2010 @ 5:47 am

  13. Those look like delicious little bites! Your wedding sounds wonderful and so special. =)

    Comment by Ashley — January 19, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

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