Concluding our week of The South, we are leaving America and traveling northeast to the south of France! I’ve personally only been to northern France, which I hope to correct at some point before I kick it. Provence and the French Riviera just sound so idyllic and romantic. And when I learned from David Lebovitz in his amazing new book that the southern French love rosé wine, it just cemented that desire for a visit even more firmly.
I am quite the rosé wine lover, and Lebovitz tells us that in Provence, rosé is not a wine but a drink. They pour it into regular glasses over ice. As my husband said, “Oh. So it’s like… slammin’ wine!” I suppose so. Whatever you call it, I couldn’t wait to try it.
Slammin’ wine is typically enjoyed in Provence with this traditional French pizza, Pissaladiere. Pissaladiere has no cheese; it’s a flatbread topped with caramelized onions, anchovies and Niҫoise olives. For some Americans it can be an acquired taste (it was for me – the first time I tried Pissaladiere a few years ago I wasn’t a fan, but then I also think my anchovies were past their expiration date, which could have contributed), but I highly recommend acquiring it, because it’s extremely delicious. The sweetness of the onions plays beautifully against the salty anchovies and olives.
That said, I took a couple of liberties. I used Italian white anchovies instead of red French anchovies, simply because I like them better (and I had some on hand from this amazing salad); and I couldn’t find Niҫoise olives, so I used Kalamatas, which are technically Greek, not French. I used a dry rosé wine, instead of a fruitier sweeter one after a very cursory Google search led me to believe, hopefully accurately, that French rosé wine tends to be on the drier side.
And whether this meal is inside or outside your culinary comfort zone, I’d highly urge everyone to give it a shot, including the wine over ice. I was thoroughly impressed by the elegance and deliciousness of the whole thing.
4 tbs olive oil, divided
3 lbs. onions, peeled and thinly sliced
10 sprigs of thyme
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp granulated sugar
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 lb. ball of pizza dough, at room temperature
30 pitted Niҫoise olives, or 20 Kalamata olives pitted and cut in half
16 or so good-quality, oil-packed anchovy fillets
First, caramelize the onions. Pour 3 tbs olive oil into a large, deep Dutch oven and heat over medium. Add the onion slices, thyme, garlic, salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently for 30 minutes, watching carefully to make sure your onions aren’t scorching on the bottom. If they are, lower the heat to medium-low. Cook another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden-brown. You can add more olive oil if needed. Stir in a few grinds of pepper, then pick out the thyme sprigs and the smashed garlic. Let cool.
Preheat your oven to 400 F and grease a baking sheet. Stretch the dough out into a loose rectangle on the baking sheet. If it is snapping back when you stretch it, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest 15 minutes, then try again.
Once your dough is fitted on the baking sheet, spread the caramelized onions on it in an even layer, leaving about a 1-inch border on all sides. Toss the olives on top, spacing them evenly, and then top with the anchovies. You can lay them about however, or you can decoratively crisscross them. Drizzle the whole pizza with the remaining 1 tbs of oil.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove the pizza to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes. Cut the pizza into squares or rectangles and serve warm, with plenty of slammin’ wine to go around!