I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Pissaladière

May 19, 2018 9:30 am

The pissaladière is one of the oldest culinary specialities of the  region of Southern France. It is one of the classical dishes of this region, together with “pan bagnat”, “nicoise salad” and “socca”. The “pissaladièra”, as it is called in Nissart, is essentially made from local products. It consists of bread dough, onions, olives, anchovies and olive oil. Pretty simple, right?

The history and the name of the speciality of the pissaladière is connected to that of the “pissalat”, which is a puree of salted fish. This puree is made from poutine, dry sardines and anchovies. The origin of the pissaladière dates back to the 1st century AD.

The pissaladière could be a heritage of a Genovese recipe, coming from Imperia (Italy), at the end of the XVth  century. The “piscialandrea”, the first version of Italian pizza, is named after Andrea Doria, a great 14th and 15th century Italian general and sailor. Unlike the pissaladière, it contains tomatoes and garlic. The recipe is then passed down from generation to generation within the families of Nice.

The first written traces of pissaladière date from the 19th century, under the name “pissalat à la niçoise”. Before being put into the oven, the dough has to be softened with this fish puree.The poutine fishery has been strictly controlled since the 1990s – it was even banned until the 1860s. Only about thirty fishermen from the region are authorised, in order to preserve the natural environment. That’s why it’s hard to get it these days.

The pissaladière can be enjoyed as a warm or cold starter, depending on individual preferences. It must be accompanied by a fresh wine: a Côtes-de-Provence, or a Bellet, from the terraced vineyards overlooking the city of Nice.


Written by Krystina Garibyan  – Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a BA in Information and Communication in University of Nice. She speaks English, Russian, French and Spanish.

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