More specifically, this dish – pissaladiere – is for lovers. At the very least, its for people who like each other a lot. I decided to make this dish for IMBB #23, graciously hosted by Cucina Testa Rossa, for two reasons. The first is my love for stinky food. Filled with olives, anchovies, and onions this definitely fits the bill. Like a dish with roasted garlic in it, anyone within 20 feet of you should also have a piece of this. Those who eat together stink together.
My second reason is my new found fascination for puff pastry. The fact that you can put a sheet of "plain ol pastry" in the oven and have it come out like that is incredible to me. Its only slightly less amazing than where babies come from and Hilary Duff’s teeth.
Pissaladiere is a street or snack food all along the Cote D’Azur, especially in Nice. It is available as a nosh the way pizza is in New York City. It gets its name from pissala, which is a mashed up paste of marinated sardines and anchovies. This paste traditionally makes the topping for pissaladiere.
I strayed from the traditional recipe in two ways. The first being the puff pastry. Normally, this dish would be made with either a pizza style dough or a shortcrust pastry dough. To me, puff pastry would be light and counterbalance the heaviness of the onions and big flavors. The second alteration I made was to substitute anchovy paste for whole anchovy filets. I adore the taste of anchovies but eating the whole filets is a little dicey for me. Plus, I thought using the paste would ensure that there was anchovy taste throughout the pastry.
For the wine pairing, my initial thought was a French Rose. Something that was dry and had some tang to balance the saltiness and the buttery crust. When I consulted my wine friends at Atlanta Cuisine, they suggested an Alsatian Pinot Gris. Running into the store with little time and not a ton of options, I bought this Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc. You read it right – I bought the wrong wine. Oops. Next time, I’ll get it right. Thanks anyway, guys!
Pissaladiere – serves six as a starter
1 kg onions (which converts to just a smidge over 2 pounds)
1 tube anchovy paste
1 piece pizza dough or shortcrust dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
– Preheat oven to 180C/350C
– Peel the onion and slice into thin slices. In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil under medium heat and add the onions. Stir to distribute oil and allow to sweat until they soften and then add the balsamic vinegar. Stir frequently to make sure onions are not browning. When they are soft and translucent, remove from heat and allow to cool.
– Roll out pastry and spread anchovy paste on top. Top with cooled onion mixture, Nicoise olives, and fresh ground black pepper. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until onions are cooked and golden brown. Serve hot or a room temperature.
The original information and recipe can be found here.