The pissaladière is a Provençal open tart resembling pizza, typically made with onions, anchovies, and olives. It’s a specialty of Nice (France), a kind of caramelized onion pie with the addition of pissala.
The pissaladière is prepared with a crispy dough from the outside and soft from the inside flavored with thyme and bay leaf topped with olives and anchovy fillets.
Origin and history
The Pissaladière takes its name from the fact that this “onion pie” was once brushed with pissalat (which comes from peis salat in Niçard and means “salted fish”). It’s a paste of mashed anchovies and sardines. Fishermen sold anchovies and sardines for a living. They got rid of the head and the entrails and arranged the anchovies and sardines in a jar in layers, alternately with salt, thyme and bay leaf, to finish with a layer of salt. After a few weeks, a puree was obtained which was filtered through a sieve: the pissala. Olive oil was added to keep it.
Notes and tips
- A good pissaladière should have a nice thickness of onions. You have to use yellow onion which has a rich onion taste with a stronger, more complex flavor and becomes sticky and sweet when caramelized.
- The pissaladière is topped with Caillette olives. It is the “little olive from Nice”, that has a subtle flavor, a little peppery. Their color varies from golden green to black, passing through all the shades of brown and purple.
- For the anchovies, the best is to use salted anchovy fillets, rinse them well under water to desalt.
- You can replace pissalat by mixing anchovy fillets with onions before the end of cooking so that they melt inside and give our pissaladière the “pissalat” flavor. For the more addicted to anchovies, you can also add anchovy paste (anchovies in olive oil mixed to make a paste) on the bottom of the pie.
- For the bread dough, it is preferable to make it homemade with olive oil. The secret is to place the hot onions on the bread dough before making it rise. The heat of the onions stimulates the rising of the bread, which gives it a softness characteristic of the pissaladière and distinguishes it from an onion pizza.
Pissaladière – The niçoise onion tart
- 250 g flour
- 30 g olive oil
- 10 g active dry yeast
- 150 ml warm water
- 5 g salt
- 1.5 kg onion
- 9 anchovies
- 60 g olives
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 strand rosemary or thyme
- 1 bay leaf
Preparing the dough
- Put 2 tablespoons of warm water (105 ° F – 115 ° F) on the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Sift the flour in a bowl, add the salt, and then fermented yeast in the center.
- Slowly pour the rest of the water, mixing until it forms a dough.
- Add the olive oil and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
- Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
Cooking the onions
- Meanwhile, finely mince the onions.
- Mince some of the anchovies fillets (3 – 4).
- In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 15 minutes, covered.
- Add sugar, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, rosemary and the minced anchovies.
- Cook over low heat for another 15 minutes until onions are caramelized.
Cooking the tart
- Grease a round pan of 38cm (14 in) diameter with a brush.Put the dough in the center of the mold and flatten it with your hand.
- Place the onion on the surface of the dough.
- Decorate with anchovy fillets and the small niçoise olives and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Cook in the preheated oven at 200°C (392°F) for 20-30 minutes.