Made to share, this Anchovy and Shallot Tart is a twist on a classic Pissaladiere that makes the most of brown anchovies’ savoury flavour and buttery texture. Tempered by sweet shallots fried in butter, the anchovy fillets aren’t overpoweringly salty, making for a delicious topping for pillowy dough.
As an avid reader of my mother’s BBC Good Food magazines throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, I’ve often wondered about my answer if ever interviewed about the contents on my fridge. While fresh garlic, capers and homemade chilli sauce first spring to mind, it’s brown anchovies – jarred in oil – that come out tops on my list of refrigerator staples. Salty and funkily fishy with a buttery texture, anchovies add body and depth to many of my recipes and I simply can’t quite call myself a cook without them.
Best of all? Brown anchovies – specifically the Woolworths‘ variety – have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. A very important detail that makes enjoying anchovies that little bit more delicious!
Anchovy and Shallot Focaccia
Prep time: 1 hour incl. rising time /Cook time: 20 mins /Serves: 4-6
For the dough:
- 500g Italian “00” flour
- 7g instant dried yeast sachet
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 10ml fine salt
- 20ml olive oil
For the topping:
- Olive oil
- 15ml butter
- 6-10 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 8-10 brown anchovy fillets
- 200g Kalamata olives, drained and pitted
- Black pepper
- Parmesan, grated
In a large bowl, combine the flour, dried yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Using hands, mix the water into the flour until it forms dough. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a cloth for about 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock the dough down and divide or shape as needed.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter and fry the sliced shallots until tender and translucent – don’t let them brown. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and add to the shallots. Set aside until needed.
On a floured surface, knock down the bread dough and use fingertips to press it into a lined baking sheet. The shape needn’t be perfect.
Spoon the shallots over the top of the dough, spreading them out to cover the surface of the focaccia. Carefully remove the anchovy fillets from their oil and arrange them in a criss-cross pattern over the shallots. Dot the pitted Kalamata olives in between and drizzle over a little olive oil.
Season the focaccia with black pepper and bake for 20 minutes or until the dough has turned golden brown. Finish off with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Slice and serve the focaccia with a green salad or alongside a more robust meal like a roast chicken.