The base of pissaladière, the Provençal tart topped with caramelized onions, anchovies, and olives, can be a pastry shell, a flat round of pizza dough, or even puff pastry. Here, focaccia is the base for a mix of stewed onions and fresh tomatoes, a sweet contrast to the accompanying puree of anchovies, capers, and garlic. Make this bread for an end-of-summer gathering, when the tomatoes are bountiful and the weather is hinting of fall. Present it cut into squares on your largest cutting board. It keeps well at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
Reprinted from Bread Toast Crumbs. Copyright © 2017 by Alexandra Stafford. Photographs by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
1 13 x 18-inch pissaladière
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk.
- Meanwhile, assemble the pissaladière: In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, mince the garlic and anchovies together. Add 2 tablespoons oil and blend until smooth. Add the capers and pulse to coarsely chop. Set aside.
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons oil on the sheet pan. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Use the forks to lift the dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over. Let it rest without touching it for 20 minutes.
- With lightly greased hands, press down on the dough, using all 10 fingers to dimple and stretch the dough outward. Pull gently on the ends and stretch them toward the corners of the sheet pan. When the dough begins to resist being stretched, let it rest for 5 minutes, then stretch it again, continuing until it fits most of the sheet pan.
- Spread the anchovy puree over the surface of the dough. Scatter the olives, caramelized onions, and then the tomatoes on top. Use all 10 fingers again to dimple the dough and gently stretch it.
- Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the underside is golden and crisp. Remove the pissaladière from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into squares.