I think my friends have come to accept this about me, but chances are, if you make plans with me, they’re going to change. I don’t mean to make that happen, but I’ll either get the date wrong and have to reschedule, or the weather will be inhospitable, or my kid will have a fever … you get the idea.
And so, when my friend and I made plans two weeks in a row, I should have known that something would have to change. Last week, we picked strawberries. In February!! We ate most of them straight out of the bucket and I didn’t save enough to make any of the beautiful desserts I’ve been eyeing on smitten kitchen, but I did manage to keep a few for a strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing, which I’ve been making since our Williamsburg days.
We had so much fun, that this week I suggested that we go to the zoo. I looked at the weather app on my phone and saw the little sunshine icon, with a high of 60ish, so I thought, why not? A closer look revealed that the temperature would be closer to 40 degrees when we got there, and so we bailed. (My friend, being a native Texan, didn’t want to tell me that it would be too cold. She was going to tough it out. I was the one to pull the plug on our outdoor plans.)
At first, I thought we’d let the kids play, and we’d make a picnic-y lunch from whatever I had in the house, like we had done the week before at the strawberry patch. Then, I remembered some neglected artichokes in the refrigerator. Fancy! By the time I got home, I was thinking about the bag of shredded mozzarella that I had bought for lasagna, but didn’t use. Pizza! Pizza led me to think about pissaladière, a recipe from Barefoot in Paris which I had never tried. In the end, we didn’t end up using the artichokes (remembered them – again – too late) or the mozzarella. If you’re a little bit lost, don’t worry. So was I.
What resulted, though, was this most beautiful French flatbread, with slow-cooked onions, garlic, and thyme, olives and olive oil, and (as a nod to the forgotten artichokes and to replace the optional anchovies), some artichoke hearts from the pantry.
Not too bad for a last-minute lunch, thrown together with what we had. And, if you’re feeling fancy, this could easily be a meat-free dinner for Lent, or meatless Mondays, or whenever you’re feeling non-meaty. It even got a thumbs-up from Neil, who gives the side eye to a lot of vegetarian fare. I think it’s even vegan – no dairy or eggs in the crust.
A note on this recipe, along with some others from Barefoot in Paris: the editing could use some work. The beginning of the recipe says, “Each pizza serves 4-5 people.” But it’s not until the end that we find out that it makes two pizzas. So, the recipe serves 8-10. It’s not a bad thing, but I do find that Ina’s fourth, fifth, and sixth cookbooks contain recipes that require some fairly careful reading, and possibly tweaking. Thankfully, she seems to have hit her stride again with the last few cookbooks, but it’s just a word of warning in case it throws you off.