About this recipe:Pissaladière is a Provençal relative of Italian pizza. The thick bread base, enriched with olive oil, is topped with a flavoursome tomato and onion mixture, then decorated with a lattice of anchovies and black olives. Serve warm or cool, cut in bite-sized squares for canapés, or into 16 larger snack-sized squares.
Makes: 1 pissaladière
450g (1 lb) strong bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast, about 7g
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
300ml (10 fl oz) hand-hot water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 onions, about 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) in total, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can chopped tomatoes in rich tomato juice, about 400 g
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cans anchovy fillets, about 50g each, drained and halved lengthways
16 stoned black olives, about 55g (2 oz) in total, quartered
black pepper to taste
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For the dough, sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil and water. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the liquids, using a spoon at first and then your hand, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and garlic, and cook over a low heat for about 40 minutes or until very soft and lightly golden but not browned. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the tomato purée, oregano and pepper to taste, and cook gently for a further 10 minutes, stirring ocasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
When the dough has risen, knock it back and knead again gently. Roll it out on a floured surface to a 30 cm (12 in) square and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF, gas mark 6). Spread the onion mixture evenly over the dough square, then make a criss-cross pattern on top with the anchovy fillets. Place the olive quarters in the squares. Leave the pissaladière to rise at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Bake the pissaladière for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and firm, then reduce the oven temperature to 190ºC (375ºF, gas mark 5) and bake for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares for serving.
Some more ideas
For an onion and pancetta pissaladière, leave the tomatoes and tomato purée out of the onion mixture. Cut 100 g (3 1/2 oz) thin slices of smoked pancetta in half lengthways, twist them and lay them on top of the onion mixture in a criss-cross pattern. Place whole capers in the squares in between. * Make a tomato and red pepper pissaladière. Cover the dough base with a thin layer of passata, then arrange a mixture of sliced fresh tomatoes, strips of sun-dried tomatoes and coarsely chopped, grilled and peeled red peppers over the top. Brush with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over some freshly ground black pepper and bake as in the main recipe. Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves scattered over the top.
This pissaladière is made with a thick bread base, providing generous starchy carbohydrate. As white flour by law must contain added iron, calcium, vitamin B1 and niacin, the bread base can also make a contribution to the intake of these nutrients. * Canned tomatoes are a nutritious store-cupboard ingredient as the canning process does not destroy the lycopene content but rather enhances it. Lycopene is a phyto-chemical with powerful antioxidant properties.