Why this recipe works Pissaladière is the ultimate Provençal street food. This fragrant, pizza-like tart is prized for its contrast of salty black olives and anchovies against a backdrop of sweet caramelized onions and earthy thyme. Supporting this rustic flavor combination is a wheaty crust with a texture that is part chewy pizza and part crisp cracker. The tart is easy enough to prepare, but each ingredient must be handled carefully. We made the dough in a food processor and kneaded it just enough so that it had the structure to stand up to the heavy toppings. As with pizza, bread flour worked best because its higher protein content translated to a more substantial chew. To keep our crust thin and prevent it from bubbling, we poked (or docked) it all over with the tines of a fork. Using a combination of high and low heat to cook the onions left them perfectly browned and caramelized and prevented them from burning. We stirred in a bit of water when the onions were done caramelizing to keep them from clumping when we spread them on the crust. To protect the black olives and fresh thyme leaves from burning in the oven, we spread them over the dough first and then covered them with the onions. Finally, we chopped the anchovies to keep them from overpowering the other flavors, but die-hard fish lovers can add more whole fillets as a garnish.
- serves 4 to 6
- resting time 1 hour 10 minutes
- rising time 24 hours
- baking time 26 minutes
- total time 27¼ hours
- key equipment 12-inch nonstick skillet, baking stone, rolling pin, pizza peel, pastry brush
- 3 cups (16½ ounces) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1⅓ cups (10⅔ ounces) ice water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup pitted niçoise olives, chopped coarse
- 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse, plus 12 fillets for garnish (optional)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1). For the dough Pulse flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. With processor running, slowly add ice water and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
2). Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
3). For the toppings Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in onions, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and have released their juice, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer onions to bowl, stir in water, and let cool completely before using.
4). One hour before baking, adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element, set baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Pat 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece covered) into 4-inch round. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward center until ball forms.
5). Flip ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside. (If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust top of dough with flour.) Repeat with remaining piece of dough. Space dough balls 3 inches apart, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rest for 1 hour.
6). Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, generously coat 1 dough ball with flour and place on wellfloured counter. Press and roll into 14 by 8-inch oval. Transfer oval to well-floured pizza peel and reshape as needed. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 10 to 20 minutes before trying to stretch it again.) Using fork, poke entire surface of oval 10 to 15 times.
7). Brush dough oval with 1 tablespoon oil, then sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup olives, half of chopped anchovies, 1 teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, leaving ½-inch border around edge. Arrange half of onions on top, followed by 6 whole anchovies, if using.
8). Slide flatbread carefully onto baking stone and return oven to 500 degrees. Bake until bottom crust is evenly browned and edges are crisp, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating flatbread halfway through baking. Transfer flatbread to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley, slice, and serve. Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, oil, and toppings, returning oven to 500 degrees when flatbread is placed on stone.
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