Pissaladière {FFwD}

I almost skipped this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, as I knew no one else in the house would eat it. But it sounded good to me, so I decided to make a mini version for myself.

Although this recipe comes from the Nice region of France, it’s very similar to Focaccia alla Barese, an Apulian specialty from Southern Italy. Both feature onions, anchovies, and olives baked on a yeast-risen dough. I’ll let the French and Italians fight over who first came up with this recipe. What I can tell you is that I enjoyed them both.

The recipe features caramelized onions. This must be the week for it, since I made a Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Tart for Modern Baker Mondays, too. Unlike the Modern Baker version, which “enhances” the onions with sugar and balsamic vinegar, the pissaladière recipe calls for caramelizing the onions the old-fashioned way — with nothing but olive oil, salt, a few herbs, and lots and lots of time.

After almost an hour over low heat, the onions were beautifully caramelized. I stirred in anchovy paste (the recipe called for anchovies, but all I had was paste; more on that later) and freshly ground black pepper. I tasted the onions and decided they didn’t need any additional salt, as the anchovy paste was plenty salty.

I set the onions aside to cool while I prepared the crust. The recipe has instructions for making a yeast-risen dough, but Dorie also notes that it can be made with puff pastry. Since I had some puff pastry in the refrigerator, I decided to use it. I rolled it out nice and thin, trying to get it into a roughly rectangular shape but not worrying too much about perfection in that regard.

I spread the dough with the onion mixture, then slid it into the oven, which I had preheated to 425˚F.

I baked the pissaladière for 20 minutes, then took it out of the oven and added black olives and sundried tomato strips (in place of the anchovies called for in the recipe). I returned the pissaladière to the oven for about 5 minutes, just to warm the new toppings.

It has been almost a year since I made Focaccia alla Barese, but the pissaladière tasted just as I remembered the focaccia tasting, which is to say, delicious. The focaccia had a much thicker crust, but otherwise the two were very similar. The sweet tang of the onions played nicely off the saltiness of the anchovies and slight bite of the olives.

This is not a dish that I will make often around here, as I’m the only anchovy eater in the house. But I could see making it as an appetizer for a dinner party, or even a light lunch for my fish-loving friends.


  1. Tricia S. said,

    October 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Yours turned out lovely. I took a pass while Nana knocked this one out – she gave me the heads up about the anchovies and knows I am not a fan. We plan to cook this together over Thanksgiving and use different toppings. Loved your comment about the French and Italians fighting over the dish origins – too funny !

    • gaaarp said,

      October 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      This would be good with any number of toppings, but for my money, you can’t beat anchovies!

  2. October 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I’m glad you didn’t let any unnatural fears of anchovies get in your way of this one. One of my favorites actually. Nice idea to keep the anchovies in the onions and decorate with lovely red tomatoes!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      I love anchovies, but even I pick them off pizza sometimes, as the taste of a whole filet can be overpowering. Next time I want an anchovy pizza, I cook some anchovy paste into the sauce.

  3. Liz said,

    October 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Oh, I wish I had substituted sun dried tomatoes for the anchovies!!! What a wonderful idea! It even looks prettier!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks. I definitely liked the look of the tomatoes better than the picture in the book with anchovies. We’re big on color in our food in my house.

  4. Eileen said,

    October 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I like the idea of using anchovy paste. I wish I knew I’d bought crappy anchovies; I would have just used paste instead. Mine was gross. I also wish I used puff pastry. My dough was flat and hard as a cracker. I need to try this one again. Yours looks great. Sun-dried tomatoes can only have made it even more delicious.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      I would definitely recommend both the anchovy paste and the puff pastry. I’ve been making a lot of things with puff pastry lately, and I’ve really come to love it.

  5. Kathy said,

    October 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Love that you substituted the sun dried tomatoes for the anchovies…wish I thought of that. Your pissaladiere looks very appetizing! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks. It was really good, even if no one else would eat it.

  6. Betsy said,

    October 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I want to hear more about your homemade puff pastry. Which book has the recipe, so I can look it up? Thanks.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

      Betsy, the recipe I use is from Nick Malgieri’s book “The Modern Baker”. If you don’t have this book, get it! It’s one of the best baking books I own. He also has a recipe for instant puff pastry in his newest book, “Bake!” that is very similar. Here’s a link to the “Bake!” recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/319099/food-processor-quick-puff-pastry You can find a video of Nick baking with Martha Stewart there, too.

      I use this recipe all the time, and I always keep a few packages of Nick’s puff pastry in my freezer. One tip: if you’re not going to use the puff pastry right away, you might want to add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the dough. It will keep it from getting grayish spots on it in the fridge or freezer. Although when you bake it, you don’t notice the spots, and they don’t impact the taste at all, either.

      Oh, and if you want to see how the layers come out on this puff pastry, check out this post: https://gaaarp.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/savory-elephant-ears-modbak/

  7. Robin said,

    October 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I like the idea of sun-dried tomatoes. I also used the puff pastry which was nice. The carmalized onion and gorganzola tart sounds yummy.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      They were both really good. Very Fallish flavors.

  8. Teresa said,

    October 22, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Sun dried tomatoes are a great substitute, both for taste and presentation!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 22, 2011 at 8:14 am

      I loved the contrast in color between the tomato strips and black olives.

  9. Tasty Mayhem said,

    October 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Great idea with the sun-dried tomato substitution!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks! It looks like I wasn’t the only one to think of that. It was really good that way.

  10. Betsy said,

    October 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I do love anchovies, and always have them around. I also love the look of your sundried tomatoes. Looks in the spirit of the original, but also quite delicious.

  11. October 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I used anchovy paste also, largely because neither one of us was fond of the idea of anchovies adorning the Pissaladiere. Yours looks delish! Love the criss cross of tomatoes.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks. I liked the tomatoes quite a bit, although I wouldn’t have objected to the anchovies, if I’d had any.

  12. Alice said,

    October 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    This was good huh? They put anchovies on ceasar salads here all the time and I can’t eat them now without them… they are really good on those salads, give it a try! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      Ceasar salad is why I bought anchovy paste!

  13. Cakelaw said,

    October 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Good on you for making something just for you! It looks good.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      That’s not that unsual around here. The kids are pretty adventurous eaters, but I don’t shy away from making things no one else will eat, either.

  14. stacy :) said,

    October 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I love the idea of sundried tomatoes on top – it looks like there are several Doristas who had the same idea! Your pissaladiere looks tasty very tasty.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks! It was really tasty.

  15. October 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    The sundried tomato addition is very inspired! I wish I had thought of that.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks! It was really good.

  16. dulceshome said,

    October 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I liked your additions – the tomatoes sound really good. I resorted to anchovy paste too – it’s what I had! Yours looks fantastic!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks. This seems like the type of recipe open to much interpretation.

  17. Kayte said,

    October 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I knew you would not be able to pass this one up…anchovy nut that you are and all. It looks very good…I am ignoring the fishy bits and thinking I could do a fine one with onions and olives alone, oh, yes, indeed. Nice job.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      If you mix the anchovies in to the onions, you really can’t taste them.

  18. anja jansen said,

    October 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I never heard of anchovy paste, is not really common around here in the Netherlands. I loved the anchovy flavor with the onions (and because it melt away, I suppose it might be compared with the paste???)

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Anchovy paste is really just a convenience food. You’re right, you get the same result from cooking chopped anchovies in with the onions.

  19. October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Love the free-form look of your pissaladiere. Great post!

  20. Elin said,

    October 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I substituted the canned anchovies with dried ones and it was delicious…the flavor was intensified when I pan fried them and chopped them into the onions. Delish ! A keeper for sure 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

      Those must have been really intense!

  21. SoupAddict said,

    October 21, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I also like to use anchovy paste in things … as an ingredient. Just not sure about the fillets draped across the surface. I think it’s more a visual jolt than anything, seeing fish lying on top of a pizze. 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

      I prefer them mixed it, too. Not so much because of the visual effect, but because they’re so salty when you bite into them.

  22. Trix said,

    October 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Loved this as well, and didn’t skimp on the anchovies! It’s so umami.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      I would say a bit more salty than umami, but definitely some of both.

  23. Cher said,

    October 21, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I sneak anchovy paste into a lot of things – it adds a note that can’t be duplicated by anything else. (I just make sure no one sees me add it)

    Sundried tomatoes sound like a great addition. I am glad to hear I am not the only person who liked this one…

    • gaaarp said,

      October 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I do that, too! It’s like fish sauce: if they know it’s in there, they won’t eat it. But what they don’t know won’t hurt ’em.

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