Recipe: Caramelized Leek Flatbread With Black Olives And Soft Cheese

From 'La Vie Rustic' by Georgeanne Brennan

From La Vie Rustic, by Georgeanne Brennan (Photo: Sara Remington)

A quintessential offering at every boulangerie in Provence, pissaladière is a pizza-like dough spread with a thick layer of deeply caramelized onions and dotted with oil-cured olives and anchovies. I’ve eaten it many times for breakfast at a café, along with a steaming café crème. This flatbread is similar, with its somewhat chewy crust, and the caramelized leeks are even sweeter than onions. You could add anchovies, too, if you wanted.

Serves 4

for the dough

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp)
  • active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml)
  • warm water (105˚F/40°C)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 ¾ cups (14–15 oz/440–470 g) all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting
  • 3 Tbsp (2 fl oz/60 ml)
  • extra-virgin olive oil,
  • plus oil for brushing
  • 1 tsp sea salt

for the leeks

  • 2 large leeks
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 oz (90 g) soft goat cheese, farmer cheese, or other fresh, soft cheese
  • 12–15 oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, then add the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the yeast mixture, 2 1/2 cups (12½ oz/390 g) of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and the salt.

Pulse, adding more flour ¼ cup (1½ oz/45 g) at a time, just enough to create a soft ball of dough—not too sticky, not too dry. When you touch the dough, it should not stick to your fingers.

Knead the dough on a floured work surface with your hands until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball.

Rub a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place the kneaded dough ball in the bowl and turn to coat the dough with the oil.

Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 1½–2 hours.

To prepare the leeks, trim the roots and the dark green upper parts and discard. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and thoroughly wash before chopping.

Finely chop the pale green and white parts.

In a frying pan or sauté pan with a lid, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the leeks, salt, and pepper. Stir several times, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are lightly golden, 35–40 minutes. Set aside. (If not using right away, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Place a pizza stone or a heavy baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).

Punch down the dough and transfer it to a floured work surface, turning it over once. Roll it into a 15-by-12-inch (38-by-30-cm) oval about ½ inch (12 mm) thick. Lightly dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Partially drape the rolled-out dough over the rolling pin and unroll it onto the baking sheet.

With a spatula, spread the leeks over the dough, leaving a ½-inch (12-mm) uncovered border around the edges. Dot the leeks with the goat cheese and the olives. Brush the edges of the crust with olive oil.

Bake until the crust is puffed and golden along the edges and the bottom is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and while still hot, brush the edges once again with olive oil. Cut into pieces and serve at once.

Related Stories