“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.