pissaladière

Happy Friday! At long last, I made my first, and second pissaladière! Do you ever bookmark recipes in cookbooks so that you can easily find them when you decide to do them, only the problem is you never actually decide to do them? This is one such bookmarked recipe. I think I bookmarked it almost immediately–back in 2002!!

The book is tarts, by Maggie Mayhew. Over the years, I just kept putting it off. I think my hesitancy on deciding to do certain recipes stems from the feeling that it might be too difficult to find certain key ingredients in the recipe, and I feel that if I don’t have those ingredients but have to make substitutions, then the dish will not be good enough. And I guess over the last 15 plus years, not only are more imported food products now available close by, but we’ve moved around our area quite a bit and also have improved our mode of transportation to get around so that most ingredients are not as difficult to get as they seemed to be in the past. As it turned out, I was able to find a Mediterranean deli very close to us that had all the ingredients I needed!

Now I’ve made it twice already in the last few weeks, and each time I reheat a frozen slice for a meal, I marvel at the combination of the sweetness of the onions with the saltiness of the olives and anchovies! Such a great combination! I hope you enjoy!

pissaladière (makes one 12″ x 9″ tart, serves 6-8)

For the dough: 

2 and 1/4 cups bread flour

1/2 cup semolina or fine polenta

1 teaspoon salt

6 fluid ounces water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan

For the filling:

4-5 large spanish onions, sliced

4-5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided use

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 to 2 (2 ounce) jars anchovies in olive oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup small black olives, preferably niçoise olives

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

method

Mix the dough first. In a small bowl, add the water with the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and stir gently again, then let sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes until frothy and bubly.

In a medium to large bowl, add the flour and semolina and salt and whisk several times until mixed through. 

Add the olive oil and the yeast water to the flour mixture after the yeast has bloomed and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough starts to form. On a floured work surface, transfer the emerging dough by scraping all the contents unto the work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Place back in a well greased bowl, you can use the same bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm part of your oven for about an hour.

While dough is rising. Make the filling by first adding the 4-5 Tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet large enough to contain all the sliced onions. Cover and heat on medium low and stir occasionally for about 20-30 minutes.

Add a little salt to help sweat the onions, plus the garlic, half the thyme, plus two sprigs of rosemary. Cook for another 15-25 minutes, again stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Uncover and let cook for another 5 minutes if the onions seem very wet. Otherwise, set aside from heat to cool. Discard the two rosemary sprigs.

The first time I made this, I kept thinking I needed to cook down the onions a little more and more, and soon I realized that I cooked them down so much that they were caramelized. Also, the book called for 6 large onions, which was too much for the size of the tart.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease a 9” x 12” rectangular quarter pan liberally with about 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

If you think you might like a thinner crust, take away about 1/3 of the dough and use it in a separate pan that is about 8” x 8” square, using the remaining 2/3 of the dough for the quarter pan mentioned above. You can also wrap it up and place in refrigerator to use later. The first time I made this I used all the dough for the quarter pan, as mentioned in the original recipe, and I felt that the crust was too thick, even though the picture in the book showed something that looked like thin crust pizza. If you do use a separate smaller pan with 1/3 of the dough, you’ll want to grease that pan well, too. Even with 2 tarts, 5 large onions is enough for the filling.

Just like placing dough in a pan for focaccia bread, stretch dough into the well-greased pan with your fingers a little at a time, making sure it extends evenly to all the corners and is of even consistency and thickness at every part of the pan.

Top with the cooled onions first. (Mine were still quite warm, but it turned out okay), then arrange the anchovies in a lattice pattern, followed by adding an olive to each square created by the lattice pattern. Scatter the remaining thyme over the whole thing. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the entire thing as well.

Bake for about 25 minutes until browned on edges and dough is cooked. Season with fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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