One of the great things about my new job is the lunches. A wonderfully civilised part of the day. Cooking, sitting round a table and talking. No more silent desk sandwiches or microwaved soup. But freshly baked olive bread, Thai burgers and meat ragus.
The future of working life.
Today I cooked a Spanish omelette. But while furtling about in the fridge, I spied a little left over slice of pissaladière which filled me with longing.
So, with a warm, balmy evening unfolding ahead of me I thought that I’d trump the Spanish lunch by channeling a bit of South France with supper. The sweet onion pissaladière base works beautifully with the salty anchovy and olive topping. It’s best eaten on a warm, summer evening with a glass of chilled white wine.
It’s such an easy recipe – but the only bit worth paying attention to is caramelising the onions. I came across a super article recently that flagged up all of the recipes which tell you to “cook the onions for five minutes until they start to brown”. But to get onions to a perfect, walnut brown, soft consistency, you need to fry them on a gentle heat for at least twenty minutes. Preferably longer. But if, as I suggested, you’ve cracked open a nice bottle of white wine, then I doubt you’re going to be in a big rush to go anywhere.
Ingredients (for 2)
½ sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry, around 200g
1-2 onions, dependent on size
tin of anchovies, 50g
handful of pitted, black olives
120ml vegetable oil
Finely slice the onion(s), and fry in the oil on a gentle heat. As the photographs demonstrate, the onion will undergo a transition from crunchy and white to soft and walnut-brown, which will take at least 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the puff pastry into two rectangles. Use a knife to gently score a border around the edge. Put the onion inside the square, and criss-cross the anchovies on top then place a black olive in the centre of each diamond.
Put the pissaladières into a hot oven (200C) for 20 minutes until the puff pastry has risen. Serve with a salad of spinach and sun dried tomatoes.
Nb. When I next make this, I’m going to cut the anchovies in half lengthways, as they were intensely salty!