A pisaladière is a tart, originating in Nice, made with caramelized onions, anchovies, and black olives. The dough resembles bread dough and utilizes olive oil instead of butter as the main fat. The use of olive oil rather than butter is typical of dough in Southern France. The name derives from peis salat or “salted fish” in Niçard, the dialect spoken in the Nice area. I first learned about pisaladière in culinary school in Paris and immediately fell in love with it. The sweetness of the caramelized onions perfectly counter-balances the saltiness of the anchovies. Until this day, I often entertain with this recipe as it is a huge hit among my guests, even those that claim they don’t like anchovies!
For the dough
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup water
For the topping
2 ounces anchovies in oil
½ cup milk
¾ cups olive oil, divided
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, divided
24 black olives, preferably Niçoise
10-12 cherrytomatoes, cut in quarters and de-seeded
In the bowl of stand up mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, instant dry yeast, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, water and egg. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and turn the mixer onto a low speed. Mix for about five minutes and then turn out onto the counter and knead a few more minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm environment until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.
In the meantime, soak the anchovies in milk to desalt them lightly. Set aside.
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a sauté pan over medium low heat. Add the onions, 2 garlic cloves and the thyme. Cook gently until the onions are soft and translucent, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the tomatoes in a small glass or metal bowl. Heat the remaining ½ cup of olive in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining garlic clove to flavor it. When the garlic clove is easily crushed with the back of a spoon, pour the olive oil over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Punch the dough to deflate it and roll it out to 12-14 inch circle. Remove the garlic from the onions and spread them on top of the dough. Place anchovies, tomatoes, and olives on top. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. When finished baking, remove from oven and either serve immediately or serve at room temperature.