Imagine taking a stroll through the beautiful streets of Nice, France, with the ocean sparkling in view and a tantalizing pissaladière winking at you in a boulangerie window.
While Nice has become famous for its Salade Niçoise, a pissaladière is also a common specialty you’ll find among bakery shops there. A pissaladière is a French-style pizza made with onions, anchovies, and olives.
Traditionally, the filling is prepared and baked on top of a thick bread dough (thicker than pizza dough). The onions on top are caramelized and sautéed with chopped anchovies, then simply placed on the dough to bake.
Once the pizza comes out of the oven, it’s garnished with more anchovies and French black olives. The anchovies are typically arranged in a crosshatch pattern. Obviously, this is an anchovy-lover’s dream.
While I personally enjoy the impressive flavor imparted by anchovies in sauces, dips, and dressings, I’m not a big fan of eating the fillets whole. That’s why I usually just leave them out of the garnish of a pissaladière. I also find this to be more crowd-friendly.
If you’re not a fan of anchovies at all, you could always omit the anchovies and instead add some sun-dried tomatoes!
I also love the combination of pastry crust with the caramelized onions, so instead of making a bread dough, I create a shortcrust pastry. This is a substitute you’ll often find chefs making, choosing to use shortcrust or puff pastry rather than bread.
I think it’s a popular substitute because it’s not only a great combination, but the pastry also feels lighter than the bread dough. After all, pissaladière is now often served as an appetizer, so you don’t want the dish to be too heavy.
In France, a pissaladière uses gorgeous French black olives. I have yet to find as tasty of a black olive here in the States, so I’ll often sub in kalamata olives. But if you have a favorite jar of black olives, go for those instead.
A classic pissaladière has only a few ingredients, but because each of those ingredients has wonderful flavor, that’s all the dish really needs.
For the shortcrust pastry
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- cold water
For the topping
- 1 1/2 large onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 6 in olives, black, kalamata, or green, pitted and sliced half
- thyme or more anchovy fillets, optional, to garnish
To create the shortcrust
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed just to combine.
- Gradually drop in cubes of butter, with the mixer beating on medium-low speed. Once the butter clumps are no bigger than the size of peas, stream in cold water one teaspoon at a time until a compact dough forms. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pressing down on the dough to create a disc shape. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To create the filling
- In a medium pan, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the onion slices and sauté until translucent.
- Sprinkle the sugar all over the onions and cook until the onions have caramelized (about 10 to 15 minutes longer).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped anchovies. Temporarily set this mixture aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Roll the pastry dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into an approximate 12" square. Trim off the uneven edges. Take a fork and prick all over the pastry, except for about a 1" border along the edges, which you'll leave bare.
- Spread the onion mixture all over the prepared pastry square, leaving the border bare.
- Bake the pissaladiere for approximately 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden throughout. Top the pissaladiere with the sliced olives (and extra anchovies, optional) and bake for another minute.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295