It's the end of August, let's all try very hard to hang on to the summer feeling, don't bring the stews just yet, let's have something sunny, one more time. What about une pissaladière?
Pissaladières originate from Nice; the base of the dish is a bread dough, slightly thicker than a pizza. It derives its name from piscis (fish).
It is a caramelised onion tart with anchovies and olives topping, usually eaten cold with a pre-dinner drink (un aperitif). Add a few kids giggling at the mention of the name, a sprinkle of the sea-spray and the trick is done. It's summer again.
Things to know before starting:
- To serve, it is recommended to cut a Pissaladière into rectangular pieces rather than wedges.
- To caramelise the onions thoroughly will take at least a couple of hours. Don't worry if they burn a little, it's part of the flavour.
- All the elements can be prepared in advance, even the night before.
- Do wash the anchovies as directed in the recipe as otherwise the pissaladiere will be far too salted. Here white large onions are recommended however yellow ones will be work too.
1kg of large white onions
1/2 bunch of thyme, washed and picked
salt black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for frying
50g of anchovy fillet, salted
50g of black olives, pitted, kept in brine
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2g of dried yeast
120ml of warm water
250g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp of salt
1. To begin the pissaladière, start with the topping. Peel, cut in half and slice the onions roughly.
2. In a large pan, drop in some olive oil and then add the onions and thyme Caramelising onions An alternate way of caramelising onions is by cooking them in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes, then draining the water and gently caramelising the onions in a pan
3. Cook the onions on a very gentle heat until all of the water evaporates and the onions caramelise and turn a golden colour - this could take up to 3 hours. Be very careful as the onions tend to stick to the pan when the water has evaporated
4. When the onions have caramelised, season with salt and pepper to taste - bearing in mind that you will be adding some salted anchovies and olives kept in brine. Allow to cool before reserving in the fridge
5. Mix in a bowl the olive oil with the dried yeast and warm water. Once mixed, add the flour and salt and work by hand until it forms a ball
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and start to knead vigorously, as you would do for a bread dough, until you obtain a very smooth round ball
7. Reserve the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with cling film and allow to rise for an hour at room temperature. Once risen, refrigerate for another hour
8. Knead the dough once more, then return to the fridge until ready to use
9. When ready to assemble the pissaladière, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and place a baking tray inside to heat. Remove the excess salt from the anchovy fillets by rinsing them under cold water for few seconds
10. Roll out the dough, dusting generously with flour down to 3 to 4mm. Spread the caramelised onions, the anchovy fillets and the pitted olives on top
11. Place on the hot baking tray and bake for about 5-8 minutes, until the dough crisps and darkens.
Serve and drizzle with a little olive oil and some freshly ground pepper -
Disclaimer: this is a Pascal Aussignac's recipe reproduced with the agreement of Great British Chefs