Another Nice Dish

Pissaladière (pronounced pees-ah-lah-dee-air) is often called the Provençale pizza. But it’s really something else entirely. No tomato, no cheese – just lots of lightly caremelized onions, plus anchovies and olives. Very simple to make and delicious with a glass of rosé or a chilled white. I like to use puff pastry, but you can make it with pizza dough if you prefer. The secret is to cook the onions until they’re beautifully amber colored and sweet. Of course if you don’t like anchovies and/or olives, this recipe is not for you. Tant pis!


Serves 4

1 packet (frozen) puff pastry

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lbs. (about 5 large) onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

salt, pepper

1 small can anchovies

16 Niçoise or other small French black olives

Thaw the pastry, if necessary.  You can make the pissaladière either round or oblong, depending the shape of your baking sheet or pizza pan.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over low heat.  Add the onions – it will seem like a lot but they reduce considerably. 

Cover and cook unti they are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Uncover and saute until most of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are golden, about 10 minutes longer.  Stir in the thyme and season with salt andpepper.  Remember that the anchovies and olives are salty. Drain the onions if there is still more than a teaspoon or two of liquid. Let cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil your baking sheet or pan and roll out the dough on a floured surface to fit it.

Crimp the edges of the dough to form a border.  Spread the onions evenly over the dough and bake at a fairly low poisiton in the oven so that the pastry cooks through on the bottom, about 25 minutes.  

Decorate the dish. Some do this earlier but cooked anchovies lose their form and somehow begin to taste a little musty. In a round pan, place the anchovies as spokes in a wheel and put a couple of pitted black olives between the spokes. If your pan is rectangular, make a grid with the anchovies and place an olive in each square. To the good people of Nice either form can make the mouth water.

It’s best to eat a pissaladière as soon as it’s cool enough to handle but it can also be gently reheated. Brad says that even pissaladière at room temperature is way better than no pissaladière at all.

1 comment
  1. Linda said:

    This recipe is perfection! I followed the recipe exactly using those lovely sweet onions. It disappeared in a flash at the neighborhood apero. The idea of putting the anchovies on at the end is very good advice that I’ve never read in any recipe before. This is one of my favorite dishes — a unique combination of flavors that brings back happy memories of Nice wherever and whenever I taste it! Many thanks.

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