Pissaladiere

A tradition of the southeast of France, served as an appetizer or cut in bite-size pieces to accompany an aperitif.

20130421-113541.jpg A thin, crisp olive oil crust topped with onion, and typically garnished with anchovies and black olives. A naturally dairy-free dish, the photo above is a vegan version, where I omitted the anchovies and added some fresh parsley. You could also add thyme or savory to the onions while cooking.
For the recipe I describe below, I use the traditional anchovies and made a gluten-free crust. You can certainly use all-purpose, unbleached flour if you and your guests are not gluten sensitive.

20130415-205516.jpg
Ingredients:

For the topping
About 8 yellow or white onions
1 small can of anchovies cured in olive oil (or fresh herbs for a vegan version)
2 dozens black olive, ideally oil cured with herbs
2 Tbsp olive oil for cooking

For the crust
2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp hot water
2 pinch sea salt

Tools
1/2 baking sheet
A pastry scraper
A rolling pin
A food processor

20130415-205550.jpg Peel the onions, and cut in halves or quarters so they fit in the feeder of a food processor.

20130415-205623.jpg Fit the food processor with the slicer and process the onions to slice them thinly and evenly.

20130415-205713.jpg Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot and place the onion on low heat. Cover and let sweat gently so the onions cook in their own juices and do not brown.

20130415-205752.jpg I like Red Mill all purpose gluten-free baking flour based on a variety of flours from potato, garbanzo beans, fave beans… Working with this flour will make the dough feel a bit stickier and more breakable than if you are using a wheat flour. However, in the end, the results work out beautifully.

20130415-205845.jpg Preheat the oven at 400 F. Place the flour on the stone counter or a smooth cool surface such as a marble slab. Create a well in the center. Add salt.

20130415-205918.jpg Add about half the olive oil and half the warm water. Be sure to prevent leakage as you can see on right of well by using a pastry scraper to reposition the flour around.

20130415-205955.jpg Start mixing gently with your finger tips in the center, slowly incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Be sure to use only one hand when you work with dough. I learned this from my pastry chef at the Ritz, Bruno, who said you always need a clean hand to ….answer the phone. And sure enough, at the moment he said that, the phone rang in the pastry lab!
Keep adding the remaining olive oil and water as needed to fully mix with the flour.

20130415-210034.jpg At this point, all the liquids have been added and you still need to mix thoroughly.

20130415-210119.jpg Finally, all the dough ingredients are completely mixed.

20130415-210206.jpg Now you can form a ball.

20130415-210241.jpg Next, shape the ball into a cylinder slightly shorter than the width of the baking sheet.

20130415-210409.jpg Sprinkle the dough with flour, and spring the cleaned counter surface with flour also to prevent sticking when rolling it out.

20130415-210508.jpg Start rolling out the dough, shaping it into a rectangular form to fit the 1/2 baking sheet.

20130415-210554.jpg Once completely rolled out to the size of the sheet, the dough will be rather thin, and you can see the color of the counter through transparency.

20130415-211148.jpg By now, the onions should have reduced in size, having rendered their juices.

20130415-211340.jpg Drain the onions over a bowl to save the juices. You do not need the onion juices for this recipe, but they are delicious added to a soup or cooking lentils….

20130415-211420.jpg Dust a little flour on the rolled out dough before picking it up with the rolling pin.

20130415-211523.jpg Place the rolling pin at one end of the dough, and with the help of the pastry scraper, and start rolling it onto the rolling pin.

20130415-211616.jpg Once entirely rolled onto the rolling pin, transfer it by placing it at one end of the sheet and rolling it out. There is no need to oil the cookie sheet.

20130415-211748.jpg Dust a little additional flour.

20130421-112514.jpg Ensure all the juices from the onions have drained. To do that, you might press the onions against the sides of the colander with the back of a wooden spoon. Then, spread the onions which are almost ‘purée-like’.

20130421-112600.jpg Spread them all the way to the edges of the crust and flatten the top to make them evenly distributed.

20130421-112655.jpg Arrange the anchovies and olives on top. Place in the preheated oven for about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven and whether you are using the convection feature.

20130421-113325.jpg The Pissaladiere is cooked when the edges of the crust are brown and crisp. Let sit for a few minutes, until it is not too hot to handle, place a spatula underneath the crust and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut in rectangular slices to serve as an appetizer with an arugula salad or cut in bit-size pieces to offer with an aperitif. Enjoy!

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