Pissaladière

A classic pizza-like dish from Provence. Makes 12 servings.

INGREDIENTS

Topping
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
6 pounds onions, thinly sliced
6 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Crust
1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 Tablespoon dry yeast (from 2 envelopes)
1 teaspoon sugar

2 3/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Yellow cornmeal
20 drained anchovy fillets
20 oil-cured black olives, pitted
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

PREPARATION

For topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place butter on large and heavy rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven until butter melts (about 5 minutes).

Spread half of onions on baking sheet. Top with 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs and 1 bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil. Top with remaining onions, 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 1 bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil (onion layer will be about 2 1/2 inches thick but will settle during baking).

Bake until onions are very tender and golden, stirring and turning every 30 minutes, about 2 hours total.

Cool.

Discard herb sprigs and bay leaves.

This can be made one day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

For crust
Pour 1 cup just-warm water into small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water. Stir to blend. Let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes).

Blend 2 & 3/4 cups flour with salt in processor.

Add yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons oil. Process until dough clumps together. If sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until the right consistency. Process until shiny ball forms (about 1 minute). Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Coat large bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add dough to bowl; turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 & 1/2 hours. Punch down dough; cover and let rise until puffed and almost doubled (about 1 hour).

Sprinkle heavy 17x11x1-inch baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 18x12-inch rectangle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; press edges of dough up along sides and corners of sheet. Cover with dry kitchen towel; let rise in warm draft-free area until slightly puffed (about 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Spread onions over top of dough. Arrange anchovies and olives on top of onions. Bake until crust is golden (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle with thyme. Cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Can be made 4 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature.