Piscialandrea/Sardenaira – Traditional Ligurian Focaccia


Here it is a new post with a recipe from the endless world of the Italian focaccia/pizza 🙂

This time we are in Liguria region, more precisely in the western part bordering with France.

The Piscialandrea it’s just one of the many names that this recipe has between the villages and towns of that area, but the recipe is basically the same, with few little variants.

It’s a very old recipe that dates back to 1300-1400, originally it was made without tomato (and that version it can be still found in the French recipe called Pissaladière, from the city of Nice which is exactly bordering with Imperia province, and until 1860 was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, and Italian was the main language), but then after the discovery of America also tomato has been added.

One of the most common stories about its origin says that its name derives from Andrea Doria, admiral of the Republic of Genoa. Historical sources report that he was really passionate about cuisine, and he used to carry always with him a woman that was his personal chef. And his favorite dish was a certain focaccia typical of his hometown, Oneglia. That focaccia was made with onions and the pissalà, a particular sauce (nowadays no more produced) which was made with juvenile anchovies that still have a sac containing the remainder of the yolk , kept in brine with spices, similar to the one originally used in the Pissaladière. But that recipe was different from the modern ones, indeed the tomato started to be widely used in Liguria only in the XIX century.

As I said, Piscialandrea is just one of the many names it has: in the village of Perinaldo it is called pisciarà, in Bordighera e Buggio pisciaràda, in Pigna vojun, in Ventimiglia pisciadela, in Badalucco sardenaia, in Sanremo it is called Sardenaira (in this case made with pilchards instead of anchovies, and there is also a disciplinare protecting the recipe), in Apricale it is called Machetusa (in this case made with the Machetto, which is a sauce more similar to the old pissalà, made with anchovies or pilchards, left to macerate 6-7 weeks, butter and extra virgin olive oil), and some other names too 🙂

The main ingredients are tomato, anchovy, taggiasche olives, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil. Than in some cases there are onions, someone add capers, someone as we saw use pilchards instead of anchovies, someone add also some milk in the dough (especially where they call it Piscialandrea). But basically they are all very similar.

Some differences there are also in the thickness: the very old versions were thicker, up to 5 cm thick, nowadays some families still make it so thick, but the commercial recipes are usually thinner, 1-2 cm.

Let’s see the recipe!


For the dough:

  • 500 g flour (usually 00 type, I used Tipo 2)
  • 300 ml water
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 g of fresh baker’s yeast
  • 11 g salt

For the topping:

  • 600 g of tomato pulp
  • 6-7 anchovies, salt cured
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, salt cured
  • taggiasche olives, kept in olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • dried oregano
  1. First of all prepare the dough: sift the flour, add the crumbled yeast, and pour it in the bowl where you have already put the water and the extra virgin olive oil. Start working it, and after a while add the salt. Keep working until you obtain a soft dough, no more sticky. Place it in a bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and let it rest for about 8 hours at about 20 °C.
  2. After this time, squeeze it on your working table, work it for 1-2 minutes with your hands, then form again a ball and place it back in the bowl, covered, for another 1 hour.
  3. Now take an oven pan, grease it with just a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, and flatten the dough inside with your hands. It must be quite thick, and it’s not important to fill the whole pan. Cover it and let it rest and grow for other 2 hours. In my case in the end it was about 2,5-3 cm thick.
  4. After this time, switch on the oven at 200 °C. Then sprinkle the oregano over the dough (in this way, under the sauce, it will not burn, otherwise if you prefer you can simply add it at the end when the piscialandrea is ready), then add the tomato pulp (with your hands, and previously season it with just a little bit of salt), the capers (wash them), the olives, the anchovies (wash them and remove the central bone) and the sliced garlic.piscialandrea_sardenaira_3
  5. Bake at 200 °C, static mode, first 5 minutes directly on the bottom of your oven, then other 20-25 minutes in the middle.
  6. When it’s ready, remove the garlic, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and serve it 🙂 it has to be very soft and spongy 🙂




Products used:

Flour: 75% organic stone ground wheat flour “Buratto, Tipo 2” from Mulino Marino, and 25% “Bio bùza kenyérliszt” from Pásztói Malom.


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