Grilled Caramelized Onion Pizza, An Outdoor Twist On French Pissaladiere

The French learned to make pizza from the Italians, but put their own twist on it, naturally.

In Provence in South France, pissalladiere is a sauceless, cheeseless pie on a medium crust. Topped with caramelized onions, olives, garlic, anchovies, and herbs, the pissaladiere is a perfect balance of sweet and saltiness. Here's my recipe for a grilled twist on cooking this classic French style pizza. I make it in a lightweight metal pan that I can coat with oil to make sure the bottom is stiff and crispy.

Before you start, I recommend you read my article The Science of Grilled Pizza (Pizza alla Griglia).

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caramelized onion pizza

A French twist on traditional Italian pizza, the pissaladiere packs a ton of flavor in the form of caramelized onions, olives, garlic, anchovies, and herbs. Taking it one step further, this recipe for the classic sauce and cheese free pissaladiere is cooked on the grill, rendering it perfectly crisp and smoky.

Makes. 1 (14") pizza

Preparation time. 15 minutes (not counting the time needed to make dough or the caramelized onions)

Cooking time. 15 minutes

Ingredients

16 ounces pizza dough

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

12 Nicoise or Kalamata style olives

6 anchovy filets, packed in oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or oregano

1 cup caramelized onions

2 pinches coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

About the anchovies. You can skip them if you want, but they will never taste better than in the company of caramelized onions.

Optional. Add 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Add some garlic to the onions for the last 5 minutes of the time you cook them.

Method

1) Prep. Make the dough the day before. Either Roman or Neapolitan will work fine (I prefer Roman). The caramelized onions can also be made a day ahead. Remove the pits from the olives and chop them in large chunks. Drain the anchivies and chop then into large chunks.

2) Fire up. Preheat the grill to high. Shoot for 450 to 500°F.

3) Prep again. Coat a lightweight metal pan with oil. A sheetpan will work. Spread the dough out with your hands, and don't worry if it is not perfectly round. With a pastry brush or spray bottle, lightly coat the top with olive oil.

4) Sprinkle the herbs on the dough first. This is important so the moist onions keep them from burning. Then add the olives, anchovies, caramelized onions, salt, and pepper. I know you want to, but don't skip the anchovies.

5) Cook. Bake until the crust is nicely crisped. 

6) Serve. Slice and serve.

"I always treat myself to one meal on Sundays when I can have whatever I want. Usually it's pizza, which is my favorite indulgence."Beyonce

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