Living France - - Á La Maison -

“I cook the onions with­out any salt, as I love the con­trast of al­most sweet onions and a sud­den rush of salty an­chovy and olive. This is also very good with some crushed tomato (or slices) added to the base be­fore the an­chovies and olives (which should be top qual­ity). If your an­chovy fil­lets are large, then halve the num­ber and slice each in half length­ways.” Tessa Kiros

1. In a wide bowl, dis­solve the yeast and sugar in the wa­ter, then whisk in a hand­ful of the flour. Cover with a cloth and leave for 30 min­utes or so un­til it froths up.

2. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and olive oil. Trans­fer the dough to the work sur­face and knead well. Scat­ter a lit­tle flour into the bot­tom of the bowl and re­turn the dough to it. Make a slash on the top of the dough and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Leave for 1½ hours, or un­til dou­bled in size.

3. For the topping, heat four ta­ble­spoons of olive oil in a large fry­ing pan over a low-medium heat. Add the onions and thyme leaves and sauté gently for about 20 min­utes to soften. Re­move from the heat.

4. Driz­zle one ta­ble­spoon of olive oil into a shal­low bak­ing sheet, about 33 x 28cm (13 x 11in), and spread it with your hands to cover the base. Gently knead the dough down in the bowl, then stretch it out into a rough rec­tan­gle and trans­fer to the bak­ing sheet. Us­ing both palms, ease the dough to­wards the cor­ners of the tray.

5. Spread the sautéed onions evenly over the dough, al­most to the edges, press­ing them into the dough so they ad­here a lit­tle.

6. Ar­range the an­chovies in a criss-cross pat­tern and place an olive in the cen­tre of each di­a­mond. Driz­zle a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons more oil evenly over top and give a good grind­ing of pep­per.

7. Leave to rise for 30 min­utes or so while you heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

8. Bake for about 30 min­utes, un­til the base is cooked all over (check the mid­dle) and the top is golden here and there with a slight char­ring in places, tak­ing care not to over­cook it as it will dry out. Cut into pieces and eat while still warm.

Recipe taken from Provence to Pondicherry by Tessa Kiros, pho­tog­ra­phy by Manos Chatzikon­stan­tis, Quadrille Pub­lish­ing, £25, hard­back.

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