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Olive and Onion Pissaladière

You can pit olives quickly using the back of a large chef’s knife. Put the olives on a cutting board and lay the widest part of the blade on top, with the sharp edge facing away from you. Carefully roll the olives, pressing down on the blade. The olives should split, allowing you to remove the pits easily.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. yellow onions, halved and sliced thinly
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. coarse cornmeal
  • 1 yeast dough ball (see related recipe at left), at room temperature
  • 8 canned anchovy fillets, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • 8 niçoise or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and roughly chopped (see note above)

Directions:

Cook the onions
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and cook gently, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.

Shape the dough
Meanwhile, sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Place the dough ball on the prepared pan. Very firmly press down on the center and, working from the center outward, push and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan to achieve an even thickness. (If the dough is difficult to handle, set it aside, covered, for 10 minutes.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in the pan for 15 minutes.

Assemble and bake the pissaladière
Place a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F. Spread the onion mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border uncovered. Scatter the anchovies and olives over the dough. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.

Cut the pissaladière in half lengthwise and then crosswise into small serving pieces. Serve warm. Makes about 16 pieces.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).