Regardless of the weather, I am going to continue posting picnic prep entries and hope for the best. Worst comes to worst, you can enjoy a picnic on your living room floor. With the heating on.
Today I have made something from the South of France which, to me, is one of those beautiful dishes that epitomises a region (and should, if possible, always be enjoyed with a chilled glass of crisp white wine, maybe even with an icecube in it ooh la la) – pissaladière. For all its grandeur, it is essentially a caramelised onion tart with a pizza base, adorned with devilishly salty anchovies and black olives – so it’s a bit like a seriously oniony white pizza. Some people make it using puff pastry so then it really is just an onion tart but I think pizza dough is traditional (sorry Nigel Slater…). For something a little different, I have used red instead of white onions to give a wonderful deep purple colour.
Perfect for picnics, packed lunches and al fresco (ha ha, obviously not in England) summer suppers.
If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like anchovies, it is still darn tasty (if not as pretty) without the fishy critters.
Red onion pissaladière
Serves 4-6 as a light lunch
– 400g pizza dough (see my recipe here which makes about 800g dough)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 900g red onions (4-5 large ones), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 4 sprigs’ worth thyme leaves
– 50g anchovy fillets in oil (about 10 fillets), halved lengthways (optional and omit for a veggie / vegan version)
– about 6 black olives, pitted and halved
In a large pan on a low heat, sweat the onions – along with the garlic and thyme – in the oil for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. Be careful not to brown them! Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (bearing in mind that the anchovies and olives will add a fair whack of salt) and drizzle over a tablespoon of oil from the anchovies. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 220°C and cut a sheet of baking paper to fit a large rectangular baking tin. Tip: If, like me, you don’t have a tin large enough, you can just use one of the shelves in your oven…
On the baking paper, roll out the pizza dough to approximately fit the sheet’s size and shape, pulling it into shape with your hands to make the corners.
Spread the onions over the base, leaving a small margin, and arrange the anchovies in a diamond pattern on top, with half an olive in the centre of each diamond.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is slightly tanned.
Slice into squares and serve warm or cold.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.