The MSBH is the first time I’ve encountered pissaladière,* which according to Wikipedia is basically pizza sans the sauce and the cheese. And the anchioves and olives are arranged in a pleasing geometric pattern. Not about to be outdone in anything culinary, the French refuse to simply throw ingredients onto a pizza with the devil-may-care attitude of the Italians.
A fantastic and easy dough is made with olive oil.
As I mentioned recently, my old Kelvinator oven finally bit the dust. But I am now back in business with a fancy-schmancy new Kitchen Aid oven that has a bread proofing function and everything. What used to take two hours now takes 30 minutes. So lovely.
The entire pissaladière is baked on an unlined baking sheet that has been generously coated with olive oil
The MSBH instructs the dough to be rolled out on a floured surface and then transferred to the pan, but after making hundreds of pans of foccacia at an artesian bakery back in the day, I have to say that “pouring” the proofed dough onto the oiled sheet and then gingerly working it out to the edges is the way to go.
So, the dough proofs in an oiled bowl, and you can rub some more olive oil on your hands if it’s still sticky. I think the key is to be gentle, because you don’t want to destroy the gluten that has formed and you want to keep air in the dough itself so you get those great porous holes that are a mark of stellar baked bread.
The panned dough is covered and allowed to proof again while the toppings are prepped.
The toppings include tomatoes, anchioves, olives, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, garlic, onions, olive oil, and salt.
The onions are sautéed with what I consider to be an obscene amount of olive oil, along with the garlic and the salt. They are cooked way, way down and then mixed with the fresh parsley and thyme.
The tomatoes are not cooked prior to going onto the pissaladière, but they are de-seeded and sliced into strips.
The tomatoes are evenly distributed on the top of the unbaked dough, followed by the cooked onion/herb/garlic mixture. Then anchioves are arranged in a cross pattern and dotted with olive halves.
Then it’s into a very hot oven (use convection if you’ve got it – I do now, hooray!) to bake quickly, just like a pizza. Slide it out of the pan, slice, and serve.
I could not find the called-for Nicoise olives anywhere in Laramie – or any good oily black olives for that matter – so I used some Kalamatas but that was a mistake. The toppings are already SO SALTY from the salt that is cooked with onions that the Kalamata olives were just overkill. (And if I make this again I’ll cut way down on the salt in onions, period.)
Another big negative for me was the amount of olive oil. The toppings were all awash in olive oil what with the the cooked onions and the anchioves – every bite was far too heavy and greasy and totally detracted from the actual flavor of the ingredients. So I’d definitely cut back on the olive oil used to cook the onions by at least 50%.
The very BEST part of this recipe is the crust. It has a bright, rustic flavor and is perfectly crisp on the bottom and edges with a fluffy, porous crumb. I will use the dough recipe again and again but will likely change up the traditional toppings.
You really don’t miss the cheese on this “pizza,” so nixing the anchovies and experimenting with other vegetables and herbs would yield countless vegan pizza alternatives.
*I have received numerous comments and emails about including the actual recipes with my posts, which I will absolutely not do. First, I do not have the time or disposition to type out every recipe. Second, although I know copyright laws about recipes are a bit nebulous, I cannot imagine it would be legal to duplicate and entire book of recipes on the internet. More importantly, however, is that it just isn’t ethical to do so. One person claimed that Martha Stewart is “rich enough” already but there are dozens of people who write, edit, and produce her cookbooks. With all that said, however, I am going to start linking to recipes from the MSBH that are actually on the Martha Stewart website itself, just as they appear in the book. The pissaladière is one such recipe (and watch the video that is there if you can – Martha gets in a little comment about the chef about having three baby mamas while he’s trying to mix the bread dough. God love her.).