Pissaladiera (Onion and anchovy pie)
Please don’t call this a pizza. While it resembles the thin Ligurian focaccia, or pizza bianca, it was born in the city of Nice (where it is called pissaladiera, while elsewhere in France it is called pissaladière). It is topped only with onions and anchovies and sometimes olives, but never tomato and never cheese.
It is essentially a focaccia (or fougasse) covered with onions and a condiment called pissalat, a dialect word that means ‘salted fish’. Pissalat has such ancient origins, it may relate to the garum sauce to which the Romans were addicted. It can also be spread on crostini, or used for flavouring cold meats or fish, or sautéed spring vegetables.
The combination of the saltiness of anchovies and the sweetness of caramelised onions is wonderful, intense and irresistible. Who needs tomatoes or cheese?
You Will Need
First make your dough, using the previous recipe. While the ball of dough is resting, peel and thinly slice the onions, then put them in a heavy-based saucepan with the olive oil. Cook them, covered, over low heat for 1 hour, so they become like a soft jam.
While the onions are cooking, make the pissalat. Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mortar and pound until you obtain a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the olive oil, mixing with a wooden spoon, so you obtain a thick, smooth consistency.
When the onions are cooked, stir the pissalat into them.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Shape the dough into your baking tin, let it rest for 30 minutes, then spread the onion mixture over the top. Stud the topping with olives and lay the anchovy fillets over in a pattern that pleases you. Grate on some black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the onions have started to brown.
Slice and serve warm; the bread will be just as good the next day.