There is no Southern French bakery that I know of that does not make and offer Pissaladière in Nice and its extended area. Moreover, everyone should note that there could not be a complete experience when visiting Nice without trying Pissaladiere at least once. One could say Pissaladiere is our local pizza, which technically wouldn’t be wrong, however purists (and locals) would hate you for this if you’d say that, so I wouldn’t recommend you to try if you want to avoid unmaking friends around here during your stay among us, hahaha!
Most times, bakeries prepare Pissaladiere on a thick bread crust whereas at home we tend to make it on a thiner crust. Personally, I enjoy eating Pissaladiere as soon as it gets out of the oven because my crust is very crispy. What’s very important to know though – for first timers – is that Pissaladiere is usually better on the second day, when onions and olive oil got enough time to wet the crust tender and give it all of its typical flavor.
Pissaladière also reminds me of great times of my childhood. When I was a kid, and later a teenager, my family was living on a hill in Nice, in the district of Cimiez. Our apartment had a sea view over the Mediterranean Sea from afar, as well as a view from my bedroom over the Parc des Arènes de Cimiez. This is a wonderful park where we would spend some of our many sunny Sundays eating a simple picnic with family friends, and playing around, riding our bikes and climbing up on trees. This park is the location of some major historic Roman ruins and of an arena dated back from the 1st to 4th Century AD. Only a part of it needed to be excavated throughout modern history, as the site never really was entirely buried. The park has also been hosting the Matisse museum (newest location) since 1993, almost 40 years after Matisse died in Nice. This is the red and yellow building you can see on one of the pictures below (photos of the park are not mine).
Because of its space and capacity, but also because of its acoustic wonders, the Parc des Arènes de Cimiez has been hosting for years in July the Nice Jazz Festival (with the participation of lots of international superstars, not only Jazzmen but all great musicians and artists from different variants). Some years, I would join my parents to the Festival and enjoy listening to the sound of The 100 Voices of Gospel, or to Ray Charles (wow, unbelievable when I now think about it!), or Diana Krall or even Peter Gabriel, each of them singing either in the middle of the Arena ruins or in the main garden nearby the Matisse Museum. What a decor! Some other years, I would stay at home, open my windows, and joyfully listen to the voices and instruments of Carlos Santana, the Cranberries, Joe Cocker and more, coming out from the big trees over the park down there. Nowadays, the Nice Jazz Festival has been moved to another smaller location, in another public park along the Promenade des Anglais.
In this exact same park, every year all four Sundays in May, there is what we call in Nice “La Fête des Mai”, which literally means “the celebration of May” – and the celebration of all Spring themed Niçoises stuffs that go around with it. During this month, scholars gather together on weekdays at the park with their teachers, wearing traditional local costumes and performing local dances (after weeks of rehearsal at school), to represent their school on a public performance and eventually win the local competition. On Sundays, kids leave their costumes at home, and parents come along to the park. This usually is a great occasion to meet with friends and spend a nice time together outdoors, while enjoying local foods and wines from Nice, among which there is – here we finally come – the famous Pissaladière. Needless to say I had tons of it as a child! And it’s a part of our regional pride, that I am today really glad to share with you all in this post.
- 1 kg yellow onions
- 3 tbsp of tasty olive oil
- 1,5 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of Provence herbs mix
- 1 tbsp of capers
- salt and pepper
- normally we add black olives (mandatory) and anchovies (optional but very common)
- for the dough: 250 grams of flour, 110 ml of water, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Peel and chop the onions.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions with all other ingredients until they are golden brown.
- Preheat the oven at 240 degrees C.
- Prepare the dough by combining all ingredients. Form a ball, lightly flour your working surface and start rolling it with a rolling pin, then transfer it on your baking tray over a baking sheet.
- Display the onions over the crust, along with the anchovies if you use them.
- Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Take it out of the oven and decrease temperature down to 200 degrees C.
- Add the olives now, and put the pissaladiere back in the oven.
- Bake 15 to 20 more minutes, depending on your oven performance and the thickness of your crust.
- Eat warm, or at room temperature, to your taste. Pissaladiere can handle being reheated (in the oven) if desired.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.