This dish is native to Nice in the South of France and is sold EVERYWHERE - makes a great change from bog standard pizza-style snack! Basically, it's an onion and anchovy tart! But the recipes are as many as the people who sell it! In case anyone wonders, I've been pruning out loads of notes taken at various cookery courses around Europe, and found lots of my old stuff from France.
PS the name comes from Pissalat, the local name for anchovies!
225g strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons easy-blend yeast
onion liquid (explanation is in the 'method')
Lukewarm water (explanation in the method)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 kilo onions (mild ones work best with this recipe) sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme
15-20 anchovy fillets, halved lengthways (depends how much you like the taste!)
15-20 olives, stoned. Best are small black olives from the area around Nice or I have used larger black olives and cut them in half.
1 teaspoon EVOO
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Few basil leaves - although it doesn't matter if you leave these out - some places add them, some don't.
For the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onions, garlic, bayleaf, thyme, salt and pepper (salt will draw water from onions to prevent them drying). Cook VERY gently, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for about 1.5 hours until the onions are very soft and coloured, but not charred! Remove from heat, discard bayleaf and thyme sprig and then squeeze the onions gently to one side of the pan, draining off any resulting liquid. Make up to 150 ml with the lukewarm water (this is the onion water mentioned above)
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl Stir in yeast, form a well in the centre and slowly pour in the onion liquid and 1 teaspoon olive oil, stirring constantly to make a smooth dough. Beat well until the dough comes away from the sides and then transfer to a lightly-floured surface and knead well. when the dough is soft, smooth and elastic (if it is too dry, add a few drops more olive oil), you should form the dough into a ball, place into an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in volume (usually takes between an hour and 1.5 hours)
Preheat oven to Gas mark 7/425F. Oil a 9 x 13 swiss roll tin or a 10-11 inch round flat tin. Roll out the dough (make sure you flour the rolling pin well!) to a rectange to fit whatever tin you are using. Transfer to tin and make sure it fits into tin and a little way up the sides (this should almost be a flat tart),
Check seasoning in the onion puree is to taste and spoon evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with the thyme. Arrange the anchovy fillets on top in a lattice pattern (or I've also seen it like spokes of a wheel when made in a round tin). Place olives in the spaces of the lattice. Sprinkle the top with the EVOO and ground black pepper, to taste.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until the dough has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and is golden and crisp. Remove from oven and serve warm, garnished with basil. You could cook the pissaladiere in advance, and just sprinkle with a little more olive oil and reheat for 15-20 mins in a low oven.