The French Make Pizza, Too!

2 06 2008

It goes by the name “pissaladière,” and is a traditional Provençal snack.  Like any regional recipe, there is disagreement as to what goes into a “real” pissaladière, though I think that all would agree is is made with a sturdy pizza-like crust and caramelized onions.  (No floppy extra thin crust here.)  Other traditional toppings include anchovies, niçoise olives, thyme, tomato, and garlic.

The cool thing about having extra calzone dough in the freezer is that it gives you the ability to make off-the-cuff pizzas, as long as you remember to thaw the dough a few hours in advance.  (You could also put it in the fridge in the morning, if that’s better for your schedule.)  When the time comes, roll out the dough, add your toppings of choice and bake.

Being in France, and finding myself with a handful of onions that needed to be used, I decided to go the pissaladière route.  I started by caramelizing the onions in lard with a pinch of salt and some fresh thyme.  If the pan started to get dry, I just poured in a little white wine to moisten the onions and let them continue cooking to a nice, deep brown color.

Roasted tomatoes and garlic

Meanwhile, I thought that some roasted tomatoes would make a good addition, so I sliced the one rather lackluster tomato I had and placed it in a baking dish.  I sprinkled the slices with salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil.  Then I thought that some garlic would punch up their flavor even more, so I threw in a couple of cloves and topped it all off with a sprig of thyme.  Into the oven went the pan while the onions slowly caramelized on the stove.  The added bonus of this step was that the oven was already preheated when I was ready to bake the pissaladière.

Assembly of the dish took no time at all.  First I smeared the roasted garlic onto my rolled-out dough (pissaladière is usually rectangular in shape, which is actually easier than a round pizza, in my opinion).  Then I spread the onions evenly over the whole thing.  Next came the tomatoes and a smattering of goat cheese because, well, I had it on hand, it is delicious with all the aforementioned ingredients, and I wanted something a little heartier than a straight onion and tomato tart.  I baked it on a sheet pan lined with parchment and sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking (which probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but it never hurts to play it safe).


Even easier than the calzone, and it made an excellent light (well, except for the lard) meal which we finished off with a simple green salad.  I’m sure I’ll end up doing something similar with the last ball of dough, and then making a point of keeping such dough on hand for quick dinners.


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