Monday, April 4, 2011

Labbits Like: Apple, Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Pizza

Who doesn't like pizza? It's so versatile, whether you're a meat eater, a veggie lover, or a cheese fanatic. They're perfect for using up ingredients in the refrigerator, and the combinations are endless! Here's a version that's less popular than your cheese and pepperoni standard - a pizza with fruit as the star ingredient.

This pizza was inspired by a sandwich at Fritz, a casual restaurant in downtown Keene, NH that specializes in handcut Belgian style french fries and a wide variety of dipping sauces. The sandwich on the menu that inspired this pizza is pear and caramelized onion with fontina cheese on ciabatta. The labbits didn't have any pears but they did have apples, so this apple, caramelized onion and blue cheese pizza came about.

Caramelizing onions takes time but the payoff is worth it. You can even caramelize 5 or 6 onions and keep them refrigerated for use in various dishes over a week. The beauty is you can start the onions and keep prepping the rest of the pizza while they cook. Just remember to return to the pan to stir the onions occasionally. By the time you've prepped the rest of the pizza, the onions will be well on their way to caramelized perfection! Print the recipe here.

Ready to pop in the oven!

Apple, Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese Pizza

Whole wheat prepared pizza crust
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1 large crisp tart apple (the labbits like Pink Lady), sliced thin
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup halved pecans
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar

Caramelize the onions - Your onions will shrink A LOT! which is why we've started out with a whole onion.  Heat EVOO in a large flat pan over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat evenly with oil. Sweat the onions, stirring occasionally, allowing the onions to soften and release their water. Once the onions have sweated (about 5 minutes) turn the heat to medium-low. Stir the onions a little less frequently. They may stick to the bottom of the pan, which is okay! Stirring too often won't allow the onions to brown. At this point you can add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, if you like. If you find the onions are browning and sticking too much to the pan, you can add a Tbsp of water or broth to deglaze. Turn the heat up to allow the water to evaporate, then turn the heat back down. Don't cheat on time! Caramelized onions are best when cooked "low and slow".

Continue to cook the onions until you get a nice amber color. You can go for a more intense caramelization if you like, about 30 minutes.

While cooking the onions, you can step away and prepare the rest of the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a dry skillet, lightly toast halved pecans, about 3 or 4 minutes on low heat. Remove pecans, and melt butter. Add garlic and apple slices, in small batches if necessary, and turn the heat to medium-low. Saute for a few minutes until the apples soften.

With all your ingredients ready, assemble your pizza: Spread half the cheese over the prepared pizza crust and cover with onions, garlic, pecans, and apple slices. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top.

Bake until the cheese has melted, about 8 - 10 minutes.

Yields - one 12" pizza

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