According to Jacques Médecin, former mayor of Nice and an authority on its cuisine, the layer of onions on a pissaladière should be half as thick as the crust.
FOR THE DOUGH:
1/4 oz. active dry yeast
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups flour
1 tbsp. salt
FOR THE TOPPING:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2-3 lbs. onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bouquet garni of 2 sprigs each thyme and marjoram
and 1 sprig rosemary, tied with kitchen twine
1/3 cup niçoise olives
12 anchovy filets
1. For the dough: Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl, let stand for 5 minutes, then add 1/4 cup oil. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl, add yeast mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon, adding a bit more water if necessary, until ingredients are well mixed. Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface, dust hands with flour, and knead for several minutes until the dough has a smooth, firm, elastic character. Form dough into a ball, then place in a lightly oiled medium bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow dough to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour.
2. For the topping: Heat oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and season generously with salt and pepper. Add bouquet garni and cover pan to let onions slowly simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue cooking until the moisture has evaporated and the onions cook down to a very tender marmalade-like consistency, 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 450°. Roll dough out on a floured surface into a thin, flat rectangle. Transfer dough to a baker’s peel or inverted baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
4. Remove cloth from dough and spread onion mixture on top. Arrange olives and anchovy filets over the onions, season lightly with pepper, then slide onto hot pizza stone. Bake until crust has browned, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #32