Try your hand at making this savoury onion flatbread from the south of France. While it takes a bit of time (no pun intended), it's not difficult and is a goodie for summer entertaining, served with a green salad.
The name derives from the Provencale word pissalat which was a fish based condiment, represented today by a combination of anchovies and thyme.
- Foccacia Base
- unbleached plain flour or pizza flour - 500g (4 cups)
- dry yeast - 7g (1 sachet)
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- warm water - 300ml
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- warm water - 30ml
- olive oil - 1 tablespoon
- sea salt - 3 teaspoons
- The Onions
- onions - 750g (about 6) medium, peeled and finely sliced
- olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- garlic - 4, peeled and finely chopped
- bouquet garni - 1 stalk each parsley,thyme, celery leaves and bay leaf tied together
- salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- anchovy fillets - 12 - 16, drained and rinsed
- black olives (kalamata) - 10 - 12, stoned and halved
- fresh thyme leaves - 1/2 teaspoon
Serves 6 - 8 as a snack
Make the focaccia base: place flour and salt in a large bowl, make a hole in the centre and put in the yeast, olive oil and water. Stir with a wooden spoon to bring together and make a soft dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured benchtop and knead vigorously for 5 - 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Form into a dough and place in lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a cloth and place in a warm spot. Leave until dough has doubled - time will depend on how warm it it. It may take anything from 1 - 3 hours. Remove dough from bowl, punch down and knead for 2 minutes.Roll dough out to form a rectangle (approx 35cm x20cm). Place on an oiled baking tray, prick all over with a fork.
Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and brush liberally over top of the dough. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220degC.
Meanwhile in a heavy frying pan, sweat the onions in the oil with the garlic, bouquet garni and salt. Cover and leave over low heat (a simmer pad is useful) until onions have collapsed and are cooked through and beginning to caramelise, about 35 minutes. Turn frequently with tongs. Remove the bouquet garni, drain off excess juices and spread onion mixture evenly over pizza base.
Bake the pissaladiere in the oven until browned and crisp, being careful not to burn the onions, about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange the anchovies in a lattice pattern over the onions, placing the olives in between. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into rectangles. Also good with a tossed green salad for lunch.
Tip: If you soak the anchovies in milk for 10 - 15 minutes after rinsing, they will lose some of their saltiness. Drain on paper towels before proceeding.