I made this at the last minute as the thought of pizza or pissaladière, as the French say, didn't quite appeal to me on a Friday when we were supposed to hone in on our French cooking skills. The odds were stacked against this dish coming into being - I had no anchovies in my kitchen, nor did I have black olives (or any olives, for that matter). You know me by now, I wasn't going to go out shopping for any extra ingredients to comply with a recipe....if I could use whatever I had at home, I would. In this case, I did.
So for this week's French Fridays recipe, I managed to rustle up a pissaladière, a specialty from Nice in the South of France. Essentially what it is is a caramelized onion tart with black olives and anchovies, spread on a thin pizza-like dough. At this point, I shall dispense of the pizza idea, as I feel like a better Francophile calling pissaladière a 'tart'.
Dorie in her cookbook, Around My French Table, mentioned that the name of this tart comes from "pissala", a condiment made with pureed anchovies, thyme and bay leaves, mixed into caramelized onions and spread on the tart before baking. Since I didn't use any anchovies on mine, I did wonder if it should be renamed something else....
Brushing that bothersome thought aside, I went looking around the kitchen for some anchovy-like substitutes and voila! I found some tuna preserved in brine and salmon I cured at home (said with confidence now, thanks to several goes at making Dorie's 'Salmon in a Jar' recipe!). The tuna was mixed into the caramelized onions while the salmon strips posed as pretend-anchovy crosses on top of the tart. For the black olives, I found some dried black dates in the fridge that I pitted and softened in a bowl of water.
I'm used to making pizza at home so the dough-making part didn't really bother me. Since it was a pretty thin crust, I used malted grain bread flour which made for a gloriously crisp and crunchy base. You can see the many, many dots of grain in the video. Oh, did I mention that I made a small production out of this? Which explains why I'm slightly late posting this week!
Despite the heavy subs, I was delighted with the way it turned out. It's really hard to go wrong with an onion tart, isn't it? Luckily all the flavors melded well together, and I'm not taking the pissaladière when I say that nobody at home missed the anchovies at all :-).
We don't give the recipes out over at FFWD but you can find it online here, and for more variations of this pissaladière, please check out our cooking group here.
I served this up with some refreshing Ginseng leaf salad, which isn't French at all, but then neither am I. Recipe for this salad will be up next week...consider this a teaser!
Have a fun weekend!