Makes 6 servings
Pissaladière is simply a French version of pizza, traditionally topped with onions that have been melted down in olive oil, and with anchovies and Niçoise olives. It is best made with sweet onions, and a good-quality olive oil is a must. If possible, use an oil with more floral notes than the grassy-flavored kind you often find in grocery stores. It will make a big difference. To make pitting the olives easier, smash them with the side of your chef’s knife and the pits will pull right out; no need to buy a fancy olive pitter. I also recommend using white anchovies because they are a bit milder. If they are unavailable, use canned anchovies.
- 3/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 2 cups (9 1/2 oz) bread flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 oz) water, warmed to about 105°F
- 1 thyme sprig
- 3 parsley stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 leek leaves, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 20 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, preferably white
- 20 black or Niçoise olives, pitted and halved
- To make the dough: Combine the yeast, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with either the dough hook or the paddle attachment. Add the water and mix on medium speed until the mixture forms a smooth dough, about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put it in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
- To make the bouquet garni: Gather the thyme, parsley, and bay leaf together and wrap in the leek leaves. Tie securely together with a piece of kitchen twine.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly oil a half sheet pan or rimmed cookie sheet.
- To make the topping: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bouquet garni and cook until the onions are very soft but not colored, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so that the onions and garlic do not burn. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Once the dough has risen, using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle the size of the sheet pan, allowing for a 1/2-inch overhang around the edges of the pan. Carefully place the rolled dough onto the prepared pan and turn up the overhang to make an even edge all the way around. Set the dough aside to rest for 15 minutes and to allow it to finish rising. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bouquet garni from the onions and spread the onions out in a thick layer over the dough. Arrange the anchovy fillets in an X, or crosshatch, patterns on top of the onions, leaving 1/2-inch of space in the center of each X. Scatter the olives between the anchovies. Serve immediately.