French Anchovy Pizza Recipe Pissaladière

Seafood appetizer with olives, onions, and anchovies

Photo of French anchovy pizza, or pissaladiere /
Photo of French Anchovy Pizza

This French Anchovy Pizza - called "Pissaladière" in Southern France where every bakery creates its own special version - combines small strips of anchovies with black olives, caramelized onions, and an olive oil-enriched crust. 

A food processor makes the dough of this delicious seafood appetizer fast and easy to prepare. 

Onions need to simmer slowly on the stove for about 20 minutes, turning sweet for the perfect contrast the saltiness of the olives and anchovies.

We like to cut this delicious anchovy pizza into small pieces to serve as a seafood appetizer before dinner, or even better, at parties. 

Some people do claim to hate anchovies ... until they taste this pizza and then demand a 2nd and even a 3rd piece.

We also sometimes make this pizza for Sunday lunch and serve it with a green salad.

If you're in a rush, you can use store-bought dough to make this anchovy pizza, although frankly, our recipe is better if you have a few extra minutes to make it.

French anchovy pizza recipe

Makes 1 large pizza.

For the dough:

  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:

  • 4 oz fresh (salted or unsalted) or canned anchovy fillets
  • about 40 small black olives, pits removed (we usually use Kalamata olives)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium onions, cut into medium (1/4 inch) slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves (2 tablespoons fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-ground sea salt (only if using fresh unsalted anchovies)

Additional olive oil for oiling the bowl and baking sheet

For baking, you'll need a baking sheet

Make the crust

Preheat your oven to 425°.

Put the yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, milk, and water into a food processor fitted with the plastic (dough) blade.  Let stand for about 10 minutes until the mixture turns frothy.

Add the egg, olive oil, salt, and remaining flour.  Process until a smooth ball forms.  If too sticky or dry, add a little more water or flour to adjust.  Process 2 more minutes to make the dough elastic.

Lightly oil a large bowl, and put the dough in it.  Cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, put 6 tablespoons olive oil, the onion slices, bay leaves, and half the thyme into a large skillet, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn sweet and become a pale golden color.  This usually takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on the onions.  Don't let them brown or burn!  When they're finished, remove the bay leaves.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and shape it into a ball.  Flatten the ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll it into a circle, square, oval, or free-form shape. 

Lightly oil the baking sheet with a little olive oil, and carefully slide the dough onto it.  Use your fingertips to "dimple" the dough.  Bake for 8 minutes, until partly risen, and remove from oven

Now for the fun part . . . Decorate!

Spread the onions across the dough, up to the edges.  Take the anchovy fillets, and create a criss-cross pattern to form diamonds, like in the photo.   If you're using fresh anchovies, you may need to halve them lengthwise to form thinner strips. 

Add the olives, putting them within the diamonds.  In France, some bakeries leave the pits in the olives, but we always remove them.  You can do this easily by lightly smashing them with the bottom of a cup, which causes the pits to pop right out.

Sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves across the top.  If you're using fresh unsalted olives, sprinkle coarse-ground sea salt across the top as well.

Bake your anchovy pizza - pissaladière - for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the crust turn brown and it becomes slightly bubbly on top.  Serve hot.

Eat and enjoy!

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