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French in a Flash (Classic): Pissaladière

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

I started writing French in a Flash Classics because one reader wanted to know the recipe for pissaladière. I am happy to share mine here.

Pissaladière has played a big role in my life. My mother has been feeding various versions of it to me my entire life. It was part of my final exam in cooking school. And last summer in Nice I had what I consider the most authentic version of it I ever had on a street corner in the old part of town.

Pissaladière is a tart made on either a pizza-like dough or puff pastry. It can be rectangular or circular, though I find the rectangular more common. It is similar to pizza, except instead of sauce there's a bed of sweet caramelized onions. Instead of cheese or toppings, there is a harlequin pattern of anchovy fillets and niçoise olives. It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and the crust is doughy, chewy, and crispy all at once. It's so satisfying as an afternoon snack, or as a light meal with a glass of chilled wine.

I have two secrets to my pissaladière: buy the dough, and soak the anchovies in milk. If you do those two things, you can't go wrong. Cheers to a French Riviera lunch!

Note: Traditionally, pissaladières are designed in harlequin diamonds or sun-like rays, so use your creativity when applying the toppings.

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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