Pizza with onions and anchovies

The French and Italian Riviera share this delightful breakfast or quick snack. It is usually produced in large, oblong trays, but you can also make it as a round pizza.

Ingredients:

Basic pizza dough
(makes 4 x 27cm round pizzas)
25g fresh yeast (or the equivalent dried yeast: see maker’s instructions)
150ml (⅔ cup) warm water
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
400g (2½ cups) plain flour

Topping
500g white onions, peeled and finely sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
20 anchovy fillets in oil

Directions:

1. Dissolve the fresh yeast in the warm water to which you have added the salt and olive oil. Pour the flour into a mound on a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture drop by drop into the well in the flour, mixing by hand until all the liquid is absorbed, forming large lumps.

2. Knead the dough with your hands until it has a smooth texture, then roll it into a ball. A good pizza depends on the quality of the dough used. (If using dried yeast, simply add this to the flour before mixing in the liquids.)

3. Next, sprinkle some flour into a large bowl and place the dough in it. Spread a little extra olive oil over the top to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a dry cloth and leave to rise for an hour in a warm place, no less than 20°C. (It was at this stage that my grandmother used to ‘bless the dough’ by making the sign of the cross in order that it should turn out well.) After this time the volume of the dough should have increased threefold.

4. Now begins the preparation of the pizza proper. Preheat the oven to 230°C. Grease four 27cm pizza tins with olive oil. Flour the working surface.

5. Divide the dough into four and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the dough out using a rolling pin. Starting from the middle, smooth the dough out to a thickness of about 6mm. I suggest you make the edges slightly thicker to prevent the topping from running off, and this method of rolling leaves the characteristic round edge, which should go crisp in the oven.

6. Meanwhile, cook the white onions in 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry gently until the onions are soft and slightly coloured, about 10 minutes.

7. Place each pizza on the oiled pizza tins, and spread with the onions. Arrange the anchovies across the top in a lattice pattern. Bake in the preheated oven for between 8 and 15 minutes.

This is an edited extract from Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio published by Hardie Grant RRP $49.99 available in stores nationally.