With apologies to most of the rest of the northern hemisphere, who seem to be inundated with snow, ice, rain and freezing temperatures, the weather here in Florida has turned absolutely spring-like, and I’m already enjoying many of my meals out of doors. Yes, I’m still savoring my big, bold cold-weather red wines, but more and more I find that I’m sneaking some aromatic whites and a few rosés into the mix. And this brings me to one of the simple outdoor foods that I love.
Pissaladière is a cheeseless pizza originating in the South of France which utilizes many of the staples from a Mediterranean kitchen – onions, olives, olive oil, garlic and thyme. It makes a perfect snack or appetizer, but can also be served as a main course, perhaps accompanied by a green salad.
The name pissaladière derives from pissalat, which is an anchovy purée that traditionally tops the onions. I prefer to use anchovy fillets, but if you happen to be one of those odd people who doesn’t care for anchovies, take heart – they can be dispensed with entirely.
The dough base you can make yourself or you can purchase freshly made pizza dough. To make the topping:
- Heat 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add 8 cloves of minced garlic and 2½ tablespoons of dried thyme and stir for 30 seconds. Add 8 onions, halved and thinly sliced. Separate the slices with a wooden spoon and stir so that they are evenly coated with the olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions are soft, stirring every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Spread the cooked onions over the pizza dough bases. Arrange the (optional) 12 ounces of oil-packed anchovy fillets (did I mention that I love anchovies?) on top in a diamond pattern and dot with Niçoise or Kalamata olives. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the rims of the crusts are golden brown.
- Cut into wedges or squares. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes two 12- to 14-inch pizzas.
Now for the big question – What wine should I drink with my pissaladière? Happily the answer is quite simple: any good-drinking, lip-smacking dry rosé that you have on hand. Dry rosé is the perfect outdoor wine, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on it. (Better have two bottles ready though!) You will find that the caramelized onions create a sexy sweet and sour blend with the other ingredients that pairs perfectly and deliciously with the light fruit and mineral notes of the dry rosé. Enjoy!
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