If I've eaten it (and swooned over it) a thousand times, no doubt our kiwi friends across the ditch are as equally drained of inspiration. So cooking a family dinner a couple of nights ago in Christchurch New Zealand, PDC and I challenged the idea with a rustic pissaladière along side all the vegies!
Pissaladière is an onion based tart originating from Nice in France, the key components are caramelised onions, anchovies and local olives - all fantastic flavours with lamb - and served on a bread or pastry base.
The books tell me that tomato is only used occasionally on this tart but every version I had either across the country or in Provence had a slight smear of fresh tomato sauce. Hence my addition as you can see.
I used a bread base, made from a basic recipe in a bread machine (seems like a commonly found addition to a kiwi kitchen that unlike in Aussie kitchens, actually gets used!)
The dough was spread over a tray with olive oil and par-baked and cooled before topping. You could also try a plain supermarket pizza base or a shortcrust pastry, again make sure you partially cook it first.
5 large onions
A handful thyme - picked
3 bay leaves
4 very ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic - crushed
pinch brown sugar
anchovies, at least 12 fillets
black olives- niçoise or kalamata are best*, pitted
Par-baked bread base
Make the caramelised onions ahead of time
Finely slice the onions and very slowly cook in a little olive oil with the thyme the bay leaves
Keep the temperature very low to avoid browning, after about 1.5 hours the onions will pulp down to a thick paste
Finish with a teaspoon of butter, and allow to cool
Very simple tomato sauce
Roughly chop the tomatoes and gently simmer in a splash of olive oil with the garlic, salt and pepper and brown sugar
Reduce until fully broken down, about 15 minutes
To make the tart
Smear the tomato sauce on the bread base, all the way to the edges
Top with the caramelised onion, the trick is to add what you think is enough and then double it, the onion is the best bit, you will need all the recipe
Criss-cross the anchovies, using as many as you think your guests can handle, to make large diamonds
Add the olives to the center of the diamonds
Bake until golden brown and the bottom is crisp, cut into triangular wedges and serve along side your lamb roast
We also had a bit of a treat, some potatoes that were dug up from my in-laws cottage in the country. Maori potatoes they are called locally, but I thought they looked like what I'd call pontiac potatoes and purple congos. This had been out of the ground for less than a day when we cooked them, and I thought these ones were fresh!
The local potatoes were roasted with some kumara (of course) and baby parsnips, all unpeeled for ease of preparation and to retain the vitamins under the skin.
I had purchased out of interest some yams the day before, that I wanted to get more of but there was none left, no wonder they roasted up as sweet as candy, with hot pink skin and a caramel coloured flesh.
The lamb was studded with slivers of garlic and small pieces of rosemary. Initially I didn't think the tart would be that popular, yet there was no pissaladière or roast vegies left, or meat on the bones... obviously a success.