Sunday, November 7, 2010

Frou Frou Pizza

I love those rather little, rather overpriced pizzas covered with gourmet toppings that you can consume at the pizza "boutiques" that have popped up all over the place in recent years.  All over the place except the place that I live, unfortunately.

Tonight I had a craving for a pizza that offered something more than my usual favorite fallback topping, pepperoni.  Now while I could sing the praises of pepperoni (the way its salty savoriness complements the mellow, creamy mozzarella...), that's not what this post is about.  And while I will be a loyal Papa John's fan to the end of my days, this post is about my pizza.  The pizza that took me forty five minutes to make.  The next time I have a craving for gourmet pizza, I will probably squelch it for a few minutes and drive forty five minutes to where I can buy one for a mere $13.

Anyhow, should you choose to make this pizza, it will be worth the time and effort.  And maybe with your better planning and efficiency, it will only take you thirty minutes.

So this is it... Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza with Chicken

You're going to start with marinating the chicken.  Pound a couple chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness.  If you do this in a big freezer bag, you'll have plenty of room without busting the seams, and you already have them conveniently placed for the marinade.  Pour in some soy sauce (Yes, I know this is not an Asian-inspired pizza.  Do it anyway.  Please.).  Pour in some olive oil.  About 2 Tbsp of both the liquids.  Crush three small garlic cloves and toss them in.  Add some freshly ground black pepper.  Add just a splash of vinegar.  Stick this in the fridge to marinate while you're caramelizing the onions.

Chop one yellow onion in half-rounds.  That means slice it in circles and then chop those in half.  Can I be any more confusing?  This is where a picture would speak a thousand words, but I did not take a picture of this step.  So I'll try again...  Chop your onion into rainbow arcs.  Now how's that for a pretty image in your head?

In a saucepan, put 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter.  Heat those until your butter's melted, then dump in your onion rainbows and 1/4 tsp. dried thyme.  Cover and let cook over medium low heat for ten minutes.  The Barefoot Contessa (my kitchen heroine) calls this "sweating" the onions, and I'll take her word for it.

While your onions are sweating it out, you can get started on your pizza crust.  If you're feeling especially gourmet, you can make your own.  However, since I had a Pillsbury refrigerated crust handy, I spread that puppy into a pan.  It did not go directly from tube to pan, though.  Oh no.  That would be too simple and too clean for me.  After all, I am dangerously domestic.  Sometimes, that just means messy.

I sprinkled some dried Italian seasoning and garlic powder onto the unbaked pizza crust.  A little extra pizzaz, you might say.  Considering that one of the main ingredients in this pizza is onion anyway, you might as well discard any ideas of a come-hither type of night, if you know what I mean.

After your onions have sweated for ten minutes, uncover the pot and continue to cook them, still on medium-low, stirring occasionally, for another twenty to thirty minutes.  By the end of this, they should be really soft and slightly browned.  Don't cook them too quickly.  I'm no caramelizing expert, but I don't think you should hear any crackle-fizz, which is the universally-acknowledged sound of sauteeing.

In this photo, they're just starting the caramelization process.  Sounds so scientific, doesn't it?

About now, you can sit down and browse the paper or check your email or something like that.  You've got some time.  If you're industrious, you can tidy up the mess you've made so far.

Saute your chicken breasts until they're done and chop them into pieces.  Very easy, no explanation required.  However, I'd suggest doing nice little bite-size pieces.

Since your onions are almost done now, preheat your oven to 400 and prebake your crust for five minutes.  Pull it out and top it with first, your onions...

Second, your chicken...

Third, your goat cheese (use about half a log - or the whole thing, if you feel like it!) and some dried oregano...

Bake for ten minutes and you've got a masterpiece.  Look at those crispy, crusty edges.  Perfect for crunching into or dipping into your favorite dressing.

I suppose I should tell you, not all men will think this is a real pizza.  J didn't.  He said pizza has sauce and lots of cheese.  He'd consider this more of a flatbread.  So you might want to make this when you and a couple girlfriends have a Friday night to yourselves.


P.S., he ate half the pizza anyway.

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