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Recipe courtesy of Rachel Allen

Pissaladiere

This French dish is like an oniony pizza. The word pissaladiere" derives from the Provencial Franch pissalo or "salt fish", presumably because of the anchovies that are included in the recipe. The base can also be made with puff pastry, which does not need pre baking. French Nicoise olives are best on top, but Greek and Italian will do just as well. Pissaladiere is perfect for a summer lunch, served with a crisp green salad. You can also make mini tarts, just cook at 400 degrees F, for 15 minutes.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry, recipe follows

1 teaspoon water or oil from a can of anchovies, to bind

For the topping:

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds onions, peeled and thinly sliced length ways 

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Pinch of caster sugar (superfine)

1 (2 ounce) can anchovies, drained and halved lengthways

Approximately 16 black olives, pitted

7 ounces all-purpose flour, sifted

Pinch of salt

7 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed

1/2 to 1 medium egg, beaten

Directions

Special equipment:
9 by 13-inch Swiss roll or jelly roll pan
  1. Prepare the Shortcrust Pastry, recipe follows, and chill. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed frying pan, and then add the onions. The pan will seem quite full at first, but the onions will melt down considerably after about 10 minutes. 
  3. Stir the onions in the oil, and cook over a low heat, covered, for at least 20 minutes, stirring continuously and scraping the base of the pan every few minutes. 
  4. Now add the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and sugar, and continue cooking until the onions begin to melt and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, and black pepper, to taste, adjusting if necessary, and remove from the heat. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  6. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, uncover and, with a lightly-floured rolling pin, roll out on a floured work surface into a rectangle to fit the Swiss roll or jelly roll pan. Lift the dough onto the tin, and prick the whole base with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and then remove. 
  7. Cover the pre-baked base with an even layer of onions. Arrange the anchovy fillets in a lattice pattern over the onions, placing a whole or halved olive within each diamond. 
  8. Return the pan to the oven, and bake for an additional 25 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve the dish hot or cold.
  9. Shortcrust Pastry
  10. Place the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor and whiz or pulse briefly. Add half the beaten egg and continue to whiz. You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together. 
  11. If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring the dough together. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough, until it is about 3/4-inch thick, and then wrap in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag, and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  12. Makes 1 crust (about 14 ounces).

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