Give Me Five: Good Friday pissaladière

A lovely twist on the tradition of fish on Good Friday

 

This anchovy and black olive creation always prompts strong reactions. It has the marmite effect: it’s a dish you either love or hate. I have grown to love it. It is a French classic that’s much more than a Gallic pizza.

As always the finished dish is only as good as its ingredients, so choose plump, shiny kalamata olives, a small tin of the best-quality anchovies and spend time caramelising your onions. Once all of these elements are right, you will end up with an incredibly rich and tasty tart. You can use a base of pizza dough or pastry. Shortcrust or puff pastry is often used, but I think these bold toppings need an equally strong crusty base, and flaky puff pastry will not do the job.

My kids love making pizza dough. Chubby toddler fists are best for kneading the dough, which saves me a job. I use the Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall pizza dough recipe; it is fail safe. Simply mix 250g plain flour or spelt, 250g strong flour, one teaspoon of yeast, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl with 320ml warm water. Mix briefly until craggy, then add a tablespoon of olive oil and knead until smooth and elastic, stretching the gluten in the flour to create a springy, chewy dough. Then cover the bowl with cling film and leave it for an hour or so somewhere warm so that it can double in size before being knocked back once more.

My three-year-old son thinks we need to whisper while the dough “rests”, and who knows, this might just be the key to achieving perfection.

You can buy fantastic, freshly made pizza dough in farmers’ markets now. Most supermarkets sell it too, along with ready-made pastry, so which base you choose is up to you.

I always create a rim around the edge of the base so that the topping doesn’t spill out during cooking.

Traditionally the layer of onion should be half as thick as the crust, so you will need plenty of onions. They shrink right down in volume once they are cooked properly and become sweet and soft.

I never add any salt, only a little black pepper, as the salty anchovies melt into the onions and the olives add saltiness.

This dish is a lovely twist on the tradition of fish on Good Friday, and it might just become a regular addition to our friday-night pizza marathon.

PISSALADIÈRE: SERVES 4

The five ingredients
500g pizza dough, freshly made or shop-bought
350g onions (about three large onions)
60g anchovies (this is the drained weight, so use two tins)
A handful of black olives
Salad leaves, to serve

From the pantry
Olive oil
Butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Slice all of the onions as finely as you can. Heat one tablespoon of butter and a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the onion and stir to coat everything in the butter and oil. Put the lid on and lower the heat. Leave the onions to cook for 25-30 minutes, until soft and sweet, stirring regularly so they don’t burn or stick. Set aside. They will caramelise and become more golden in the oven.

Dust your work surface with a little flour or semolina. Roll out the pizza dough into a large rectangular shape to fit a large, flat tin. Place the dough on the tin and fold the edges slightly to form a rim so the topping doesn’t slide off. Spread the onion on top in a thick layer. I find the back of a soup spoon best for jobs like this. Next arrange the anchovies in a lattice pattern or simply scatter them over. Place a black olive in to each diamond shape and bake for about 15 minutes until crispy. I usually remove it from the tin after 10 minutes and place it directly on the rack so the base crisps up. Serve immediately with a green salad.

  • Every Thursday, we’ll tweet the five ingredients from @lillyhiggins and @irishtimeslife so you can have them ready for Friday. Email givemefive@irishtimes.com with your suggestions for recipes
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