Pizza à la Pissaladière

Pizza à la Pissaladière
Makes two 8- or 9-inch round pizzas, serves 8 as an appetizer, or 4 as a main course with salad

Pizza dough for a large New York-style pizza
2 large red onions, peeled, cut in half, then sliced thinly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
2 branches fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
About 20 medium-sized brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted and cut in half
6-8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained, rinsed, and blotted dry, then broken in half (optional)
2 tablespoons small capers in brine, drained and blotted dry
1 medium tomato, cut in half, seeded, then diced
About 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre), crumbled into small pieces
About a half cup shredded fontina, gruyere, or mozzarella (the supermarket kind, not fresh mozzarella)
One-quarter cup grated parmesan cheese
Fine cornmeal, plus some flour for sprinkling the work surface

Directions: divide the pizza dough in two, form each half into a ball and then wrap in plastic to rest at room temperature for at least a half hour. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, put it on the rack. If not, place a baking sheet at least 11 inches wide in the oven (if it’s a baking sheet with sides, put it upside-down so it makes a flat surface). Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes if you’re using the stone, 20 minutes if you’re using the baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the 3 tb of olive oil. Add the onions, with some salt and pepper, (not too much salt), and the branches of thyme. Sauté until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown. Remove the thyme branches and set aside.
Take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it well with cornmeal. Lightly flour the counter. Unwrap one of the balls of dough and put it on the counter. Start pressing down on the ball using your knuckles about a half inch from the edge. Continue around and moving toward the center until you have a flat disk that has slightly raised edges. Then pick up the disk and put one fist under the center. The dough will start to stretch around your hand. Using your other hand to hold the disk, move your fist around to allow the dough to stretch all over except the very edge. You can pull on the dough very gently to encourage it, but not too much or it will shrink back. You should end up with a circle about 9 inches in diameter that’s thin in the middle and a little thicker on the edge.

Put the round of dough on the cornmeal-covered parchment. Leaving a small border, top with half the onion mixture, half the olives, capers, tomato, and anchovies (if you’re using them). Drop half the crumbles of goat cheese evenly on top, then sprinkle on half the parmesan and half the other cheese you’re using. Carry the parchment near the oven carefully using both hands. Put it down, then quickly open the oven door, grab the parchment, and put the whole thing with the pizza on top of the baking stone or baking sheet. Close the oven door and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the edges of the dough are nicely browned and the cheese has melted to your liking. Take it out (including the parchment), let the oven heat up for 5 minutes and then repeat with the other round (you can get it ready while the first one is in the oven). Drizzle the pizzas with a little fresh olive oil before serving.

For the tartines, line a baking sheet with parchment and then put the bread slices on. Top with the ingredients and bake. You should still use the preheated baking stone or baking sheet to get the bottom of the bread slices nicely crusted.

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