Pissaladière with Caramelized Onions & Olives

Pissaladière is a classic dish from the south of France – an intensely tasty type of pizza/tart topped with caramelized onions (or onion confit), anchovies, olives and fresh herbs like rosemary. So why the fancy name when we might just as well call it a pizza? Well, it’s a type of “white pizza” as they say, one without tomatoes or a tomato sauce.

The name pissaladière comes from the original Latin word “pissalat” which refers to the “salted fish” or anchovies on top. I’ve only seen it on menus in SA where the establishment is an established bakery, like Ile de Pain in Knysna, but you might find it as an appetizer on traditional French menus.
I’ve used my trusted basic pizza dough recipe to make the bases. While your dough is rising, quickly make a small batch of caramelized onions.And don’t be too neat when rolling out the dough – to me the charm lies in a rustic looking free-form pissaladière.If you don’t like anchovies, you can leave those out. But if you, like me, adore those little salty slivers, the combination with the sweet onions and tart olives are just heavenly! If you cannot go without cheese, add a few small pieces of fior di latte.

Ingredients for base:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 T instant yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 T olive oil

Ingredients for caramelised onions:

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 4 onions, finely sliced (not chopped) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper

Assembling the pissaladiere:

  • 1 cup caramelised onions
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives, halved
  • 10-15 anchovy fillets
  • 15 ml chopped fresh rosemary


  • For the base: Step 1

    In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt together. Add water and olive oil and mix until a sticky dough forms. Knead until the dough becomes soft and pliable. Cover and let it rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  • Step 2

    Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees Celsius for at least 20 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Divide dough in 2 (for large bases). On a well floured surface, roll out one piece at a time into circular shapes, adding a little more flour to make sure the dough doesn’t stick. Transfer to a large baking tin lined with baking paper
  • For caramalised onions: Step 1

    In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and fry them slowly until they start to brown. Don’t use high heat to speed up the process, your results will not be the same. You want the onions to become completely soft – they will naturally start to caramelise.
  • Step 2

    Now add the sugar and vinegar, then turn up the heat and reduce the liquid until it is sticky. Remove from the heat, then season with salt and pepper and leave to cool. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge – it will last for at least 2 weeks.
  • Assembling the pissaladiere

    Top the bases with caramelised onion, pitted olives, anchovy fillets and chopped rosemary.
    Bake for about 8 minutes until golden brown and crisp on the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wooden board. Slice and serve immediately.