Pizza from Nice

Last night, I came back from a tanfastic weekend in Provence to find Domino’s coupons in the mail. I don’t like pizza, but suddenly craved it so bad. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I made one today, in the spirit of Provence. I made a Pissaladiere, a pizza from Nice. This is a very weird pizza that contains all my least favorite ingredients in the world, but the combination is deadly. Deadly good that is. Pizza dough, onions, tomatoes, anchovies and olives. YUCK! But put together, you get this sweet caramelized oniony taste with a shockingly salty anchovie taste and a bite of oily olive and warm tender juices bursting out of the tomatoes!

It’s actually a little more complicated than just piling things on top of each other. As easy as this is to make, it requires something very special. a virtue of some sort. Something I have a lot of. But not enough to spare…It’s called patience. You have to make sure the onions are beautifully caramelized and almost melting off your tongue and the tomatoes are well confit-ed and are juicy and tender and give a slight tinge of sweetness. Isn’t this pissaladiere oddly beautiful and mouthwatering looking?

MAKES 1 10inch (26cm) pie

1 10inch pizza dough
600g (about 1 lb) yellow onions
4 roma tomatoes
16 black olives
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can or jar of good quality anchovies
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon butter, or olive oil

Caramelize onions. Slice onions very fine. In a large pot (I prefer non-stick in this situations), add the butter, onions, garlic, thyme and sugar and cook on medium heat. You want the onions to cook through and let out their wonderful sticky juices. About 10 minutes. Once onions are translucent and cooked, raise the heat to medium/high and start the caramelization process. You will need to stick by the stove till the process is over. Using a wooden spoon, stir the onions pretty often so it doesn’t burn. You will get all this great brown stuff on the bottom of the pan. Stir the onions and try to recuperate as much as possible. If you can’t get it all to come off with the spoon, just add like a tablespoon or 2 of water. The water will deglaze the pan and continue the process until the onions are looking brown and succulent. This took me about 15-20 minutes, but if it takes you longer, don’t worry. Just keep at it. Set aside.

Peel the tomatoes. You can cheat and buy already peeled tomatoes in a can, but it won’t be as good. Make an X on the bottom of the tomatoes, or top, then dunk them in boiling water for about 10seconds. Then put them in ice cold water to stop the cooking. The peel should come off real easy. Cut each tomato into 4, seed and core. At this point, I confit-ed the tomatoes in the oven. Which is basically sprinkling them with a little olive oil, salt and sugar and drying them out a bit in a low temp oven like 200 degrees (100 celcius). This process really brings out the flavors of the tomatoes, but it is a lot of work, so you can just used sun dried tomatoes in oil or just raw tomatoes. When the tomatoes are ready, cut each piece again in half. You will have 16 pieces now. Set aside.

Preheat oven to pizza package direction. Mine said 375 degrees (190 celcius) for about 20 minutes. Assemble the pissaladiere. Spread the onions on the bottom, make a pretty design of some sort with the anchovies. If the anchovy fillets are too big, cut in half. Add the tomatoes to your liking as the olives. I halved the olives and added them. Then bake.

You can eat this hot, warm or cold and serve with a scrumptious side salad and some provence rose wine!


July 27, 2009. Pizza, To Make. 1 comment.

Pizza Pizza!

Gastronomical travels, j’adore! I just got back from a much needed vacation in Italy and Provence and ate pizza till it hurt! I still have a jillion places to try, but so far, my favorite was at Pizzeria Da Baffetto in Rome. Too bad I was completely enomoured with my food and forgot to take pictures. But here are some delicious pictures of ooey but not so gooey Neapolitan Pizza’s.

Pizzeria Da Michele. The best Marinara in the whole wide world!

Pizzeria La Notizia

On the way back to Paris, I stopped in Provence, in a small village called Mouries. I stayed at the most charming B&B, Mas de Vincent, where I had Flemmekueche or Alsatian Pizza, whatever you want to call it. This was probably the best pizza on the French side of the boarder!

Vacations are so wonderful!

May 9, 2009. Pizza. 1 comment.