I spent my 26th birthday in the Mediterranean exploring the entire French coast. It was by far one of my favourite and most memorable birthdays. I explored the entire French Riviera from Nice to Monaco to Cannes to Aix-en-Provence and all the little coastal towns in-between.
I did stop in Nice twice at the beginning of my trip and at the very end. I loved every minute of it. The smell of the Mediterranean Sea, the patios, the warm French people (they exist!), and of course, the food. I'm not even sure how to describe Nicoise food. Similar to southern Italian? The use of pungent ingredients is always present. Olives, anchovies, seafood, capers... It was all so good.
One of the first things I ate in France was a pissaladiere. It is best described as a French onion pizza and can be found anywhere and everywhere in Nice and the south of France. A thick layer of caramelized onions and topped with anchovies, capers and olives - sweet and savoury at its best.
I hadn't thought about the dish until recently when I had all of the ingredients on hand. I was reminiscing about France and the pissaladiere popped into my head! I had never made it before but how hard could it be? My research found that traditionally, it is made with a light pizza dough and on the flip side, a number of people made it with puff pastry. I guess I was inspired to do my own thing so I made my own thick pie crust and made it in a rustic galette. So good.
My pissaladiere galette makes for a great appetizer at a dinner party or even a nice lunch paired with a bright side salad. It can be served hot or cold and I would recommend with a nice, crisp glass of Provencal rose.
PISSALADIERE GALETTE - serves 4
1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 ice cold water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil from a jar of anchovies
2 tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 bag of shallots, about 6-7, sliced
10 small anchovy fillets, drained
1 tbsp capers, drained
10 spanish cocktail olives
1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
1 tbsp milk (best to use an egg yolk!)
Combine all the dry pie crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Add the butter one by one and add water until small balls of dough begin to form. You should be able to press the dough together with your fingertips. Add more water if necessary. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes. If leaving in the fridge longer, take it out 30 minutes before using.
In a large saucepan, melt heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to caramelize. Stir occasionally over the next 45 minutes. The onion mixture should be dark and sweet when finished. Let cool and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take your dough out from the plastic wrap and roll out into a round shape on a clean, floured surface until 1/4" thick.
Add the onions on top of the rolled out dough and place in the centre in an even layer. Be sure to leave some space on the side (atleast 1") as we will be folding the dough in later.
Add the anchovies, olives, and capers into any design you'd like. Some people do a criss-cross with the anchovies - I made mine face the centre like a pie. Fold the pie crust in so that no filling escapes.
Transfer your galette to the prepared baking sheet and brush the dough with milk. Bake in the oven in the middle rack for 25 minutes until golden grown.