Sunday, February 21, 2010


I think the picture says it better than words can: yum.

Pissaladiere is a type of French pizza. I learned from Wikipedia that it is popular in southern France (especially around Nice, Marseilles, Toulon, and the Var District), as well as in the Italian region of Liguria. Pissaladiere is known as a white pizza, as it contains no tomatoes, and is traditionally topped with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies. After making and consuming it last night, I'm going to consider it heaven on a plate.

Allow me to indulge in a brief aside: my cleanse is over. Not finished (as you may recall, I began the 28 day cleanse on February 1st), but rather, I'm done with it. After nearly 3 weeks of no wheat, sugar, or dairy, I'm seeing most of the benefits I was hoping for (I think I've kicked the chocolate and wine before bed habit, I'm sleeping much better, waking up each morning with energy, and my jeans fit better) and I really miss cooking with some of these ingredients! So I'm going to call this round complete (slightly ahead of my 30th birthday, which was my intent anyway, just a little bigger "slightly" than initially planned) and plan to give it another go in summer, where there will be a greater variety of fruits and veggies to consume.

Back to the French pizza: I've been thinking about pissaladiere since I copied down the recipe over Christmas at my mom's house (from A Taste of the World). As I read through the recipe again yesterday, my mouth began to water. Now seemed the perfect time to try it out.

The result? The combination of sweet caramelized onions and salty olives and anchovies was turned out just as great as I had imagined it would be. The thyme and marjoram provided perfect bits of additional flavor in perfect proportions. For vegetarians reading, it would be good without the anchovies as well, you may just want to dial up the salty olives a bit.

The original recipe sounded like it would be huge, so I halved it. I also omitted winter savory sprigs from the confit, mostly because I didn't have the patience at the grocery store to locate them, and played with the amounts of some of the other ingredients. The recipe below reflects my modifications. The instructions make the process sound much more involved than it is - most of the preparation time is inactive (onions baking, dough rising). And I promise, once you taste this, you'll realize the bit of labor to get there was totally worth it...

Serves 4

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to oil bowl
1 1/2 c. flour, plus more for kneading and rolling

10 anchovy fillets
10 oil cured black olives, pitted and halved
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced fresh marjoram

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut butter into pieces and put in a shallow baking dish. Melt in oven 5 minutes. Remove dish, add onions to it. Tear bay leaves and sprinkle over onions. Add thyme sprigs, pepper, salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake, turning every 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown, 60-90 minutes. Remove from oven. Discard bay leaf pieces and thyme sprigs.

Meanwhile, prepare dough. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl. Add sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Combine yeast mix, salt, olive oil, and flour in mixer. Process until a silky but firm ball forms. If too wet, add a little flour at a time; if too dry, dribble with warm water.

Turn dough onto well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Oil a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size - 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough, recover with towel, and let rest for 30 additional minutes.

Lightly flour an 8x13 rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish. Position rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 500 degrees. Punch down dough and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle. Transfer to baking dish. Spread with onion confit, arrange anchovies and olives on top. Bake until crisp and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes.

Serve warm, drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh marjoram.

We ate ours along side a simple salad and bowls of fresh tomato and basil soup. Cut it into small pieces, it would make an excellent dinner party appetizer.

One year ago: spicy bok choy soup


  1. Sounds amazing. Do you think omitting the anchovies would be a major mistake?

  2. Hi Kathryn,

    I loved it with the anchovies for their potent saltiness, but yes, it would be great without them, too. Maybe add a few more olives (or even an olive tapanade) for that extra salty punch. :-)


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