A piece of pissaladière

Pissaladière is one of those insanely good dinners you can create when you feel like there is nothing of note in the fridge at home. Whatever is left in the vegetable drawer of your fridge at the end of the week; the odds and ends of cheese you have mooching about; those couple of pork & fennel sausages you’ve had kicking around in the freezer.

The dough doesn’t involve yeast, rising or kneading and it can be made the night before and left in the fridge. I’ve started making it entirely with wholemeal flour, because I’m that kinda girl, but it works well with half wholemeal, half plain flour. Or you make it entirely with plain. 

Pissaladière topped with pork & fennel sausage, tomato & cavolo nero sauce & roasted eggplant

Adapted from Annabel Langbein, Simple Pleasures, 2012. 

For the base:

wholemeal flour 2 cups (or half wholemeal, half plain, or whatever combo you fancy)

baking powder 1 teaspoon

salt 1/2 teaspoon

oil 1/3 cup (I use ricebran)

lukewarm water 2/3 cup

Take a large mixing bowl, and measure in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir together. Measure the oil and water into a jug and whisk together and pour into the dry mixture. Use a butter knife to stir the mixture until it comes together and then your hands to form it into a ball. Cover the bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Place a flat baking tray into the oven and turn it on to heat to 220°C. Tear off a piece of baking paper around the same size as your tray. Using a rolling pin or your hands, push the dough into a large rough rectangle. Fold the edges of the dough over, creating a little border around the outside. Arrange your toppings onto the dough and finally, remove the tray from the oven and slide the entire sheet of baking paper onto the tray. Put back into oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, until brown and bubbling and delightful.

For the topping: 

oil a slosh

good-quality pork & fennel sausages 3 or so (Razorback are good)

eggplant one large

garlic 2 cloves, crushed

cherry tomatoes 1 can

chilli flakes a pinch

sugar a pinch

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

cavolo nero about six large stems

zest of a lemon 

parmesan grated, as much as you like

fresh thyme couple of sprigs

Slosh a bit of oil into a sauté pan with high sides and cook the sausages until browned; remove, slice up and set aside. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until it starts to brown slightly. Add the cherry tomatoes, sugar, chilli flakes and salt & pepper. If you’ve got some wine kicking about, pour a slug in too (be silly not to pour yourself a glass, too). Shred the cavolo nero and add to the tomato mixture. Cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly until the sauce has thickened. Add the lemon zest and set aside.

Slice the eggplant into rounds, brush with oil and put into oven heated to 220°C and cook until soft. Flip the eggplant pieces over after 15 minutes or so, to allow them to brown on both sides.

To assemble the pissaladière, spread the tomato and cavolo nero sauce over the base, arrange the eggplant and sausage pieces on top, sprinkle liberally with parmesan and top with a few sprigs of thyme – reserve a bit of cheese & thyme to sprinkle on top once it comes out of the oven.

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