Classic Pissaladière

Classic Pissaladière
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Pissaladière is a wonderful French treat, described asa Provençal pizza, with the delicious combination of olives or olive paste, caramelized onions, anchovies, and a hint of thyme. The name comes from pissala, a fish paste made from anchovies. This recipe uses focaccia dough for the crust. Because the onions take some time to caramelize, prep them and your other ingredients while the dough is fermenting. Excerpted from One Dough, Ten Breads, © 2016 by Sarah Black. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Classic Pissaladière
  • 6 medium yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 24 anchovy fillets
  • focaccia dough, fully fermented (see notes)
  • 6 ounce olive paste
  • 2 tablespoon dried thyme
  1. Slice the onions into ¼-inch-thick slices. Heat a heavy skillet, cast iron if possible, over high heat and add 1 to 2 table­spoons oil (enough to coat the skillet), then add the onions. Cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook the onions until they are medium brown and very soft, approximately 25 minutes. Transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate to cool. Rinse and pat dry the anchovies. Reserve 12 whole fillets, and coarsely chop the remaining 12.
  2. Once the dough has doubled in volume, oil an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and scrape the dough onto it, let­ting the dough relax into its own shape.
  3. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil over the top of the dough, then use your fingertips to gently press and dimple the dough, distributing the oil and stretching and pushing the dough into the corners of the bak­ing sheet.
  4. Because your dough is topped with olive oil, it does not need to be covered. Let it proof on the baking sheet until doubled in volume, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, with a rack in the middle for baking and an empty pan for creating steam on the bot­tom of the oven. Have ready a spritzer filled with water near the oven and approximately 8 ounces of hot water to pour into the empty pan.
  6. Once the shaped dough has approximately doubled in volume, spread the olive paste and caramelized onions evenly across the dough and press them gently in, then add the chopped anchovies. Arrange the 12 whole anchovies in a decorative pattern around the edge and press them gently into the dough, then sprinkle the thyme across the top.
  7. Open the oven door, and, working quickly, slide the baking sheet with the pissaladière onto the middle rack and pour the hot water into the empty pan below to create steam before quickly closing the oven door. After 1 minute, open the oven door and spritz around the dough with water, then close the door again.
  8. The pissaladière should bake to a golden brown around the edges in 35 to 40 minutes.
  9. Let the pissaladière cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.