This onion and anchovy tart is Nice's version of the Italian pizza. It should have a thin, crisp base and thick topping of thinly sliced onion. A proper one is topped with pissala, a strong fish paste made form the small fry of sardines and anchovies. But this is increasingly rare and , even in Nice, anchovy fillets are generally substituted.
For the dough
8g live yeast
125ml warm water
225g strong bread flour plus extra for rolling out dough
For the filling
150ml olive oil, plus extra for sprinkling
1.5kg onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
bouquet garni consisting of 1 sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig of fennel 10 anchovy filets, canned and drained
20 black olives, such as Nicois, unpitted
For the dough, mix the yeast with the warm water in a small bowl. Put the flour, sugar and salt inot a large bowl and make a well in teh centre. Pour the yeast mixture inot the well. Using your hands, mix the dry ingredients gradually into the liquid until they form a smooth dough. Knead the dough, then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise i a warm place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions, garlic and bouquet garni and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are very soft but not coloured, stirring carefully so that the onions and garlic do not burn.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Knock back the bread dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface in a 20cm round. Carefully place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and turn up the edge evenly to make a rim all round. Leave the dough for 15 minutes to let it rise a little. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Remove the bouquet garni from the onions, then spread the onion thickly over the dough. Arrange the anchovy fillets on top and dot with the olives. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil, return the tart to the oven and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until the crust browns. You can serve the pissaladiere hot, warm or at room temperature, as a snack or as a light lunch
Extracted from Erica Brown, PROVENCE gastronomique published by Conran Octopus Limited