Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Pissaladière Pasta

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

This dish is sacrilege. Pissaladière is a sort of pizza, with a nest of sweet, burnished onions overlaid with a harlequin pattern of crossed anchovies and olive studs, atop a focaccia-like dough. Sicilian-style slices are for sale on the street corners of Nice, and it tastes like Nice: salty like the sea, with a touch of sweetness.

This pasta starts with multigrain spaghetti, because I think the more substantial texture more accurately recalls the chewy pissaladière dough. It also echoes the earthiness of the Provençal flavors of thyme and bay. Then, I incorporate all the flavors of pissaladière: caramelized onions reduced down to a sweet, slithery mess. Eager fillets of anchovy. Niçoise olives. Olive oil. The resulting pasta is tenderly sweet and predominantly sea-salty.

Like a mad scientist in one of my recipe-testing marathons, I made it as an experiment, and spun it around my fork as I snuck back to the fridge all day while concocting other recipes (shh...I don't like to choose favorites!). It's perfect for the warm weather, as you can eat it hot or room temperature, and goes so perfectly with a simple grilled or roasted piece of fish, steak, or even chicken. It's so light, and yet so flavorful.

So, yes, this dish is sacrilege, a deconstruction of classic South-of-France perfection. But, as we all know, sometimes the greatest pleasure comes from little sins, and Pissaladière Pasta is my tawdry choice.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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