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4th November
2009
written by Steph

Bacon, Caramelized Onion, & Fig Pizza

Bacon, Caramelized Onion, & Fig Pizza

Ever since discovering the fresh pizza dough at Trader Joe’s, we’ve been into making pizza in a big way.  Prior to this, we were using the pre-rolled (and it would seem pre-baked) crusts from the deli section of Kroger that were kind of like chewy crackers, and were just not very good.  We could have made the dough from scratch, I realize, but as much as I love to cook, I don’t really do baking, and anything that involves dough and yeast… it makes me VERY uncomfortable.  Much better to just get the dough pre-done and worry only about rolling it out.  Of course, if you’re in the mood for thin crust, then you can always use a flour tortilla, which is something we’ve also done quite frequently in the past, and it works out quite well, provided you’re not using a lot of wet/soupy ingredients on your ‘za (as there’s nothing particularly wet about the ingredients used in this pizza, it would be a great candidate for the thin crust treatment).  And yes, in Nashville, homemade pizza is really the only way to go, as there is really a dearth of good pizza places here.  It is sad, and you can be sure that we will go overboard on correcting our lack of pizza in our life when we visit New York City next week! I admit that I came up with the idea of this pizza all on my own on one very hungry day, but as with most things, if you input them into Google, you find that others have thought of it before.  I offered up a potential recipe for you guys to follow in the Week 1 Mealplan post through such a search strategy, but pizza is so easy, I didn’t bother following one for this. Ingredients
  • Fig jam (enough to thinly spread over the crust like a sauce)
  • 4 strips of thick cut bacon (more if you buy the cheap-o bacon that tends to shrivel dramatically when cooked)
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup of shredded cheese of your choice (good options would be: gruyere, romano, fontina, or even crumble blue cheese if that’s your kind of thing… we actually used a “truffle cheese” we picked up randomly at Trader Joe’s)
  • ¼ cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pizza dough or crust
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
Method 1)   In a large frying pan/skillet, melt your butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Then chuck in your onions (I know it seems like a LOT, but the onions will reduce down to practically nothing), sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano, and stir frequently until they begin to soften and brown.  Then lower your heat to medium-low, so they can continue to soften and the color in the onions deepens. You want your heat to be on the low side so that the onions continue to caramelize, instead of become crispy or burnt.  They should be soft, sweet and buttery. 2)   After about 20 – 30 minutes of cooking the onions, preheat your oven to 350° F (or whatever your crust/dough requires).  Pop your bacon onto a foil-lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes (we like crispy bacon, but it will be going back in the oven, so you want to slightly underdo it). 3)   Roll out your dough on a floured surface, and then assemble pizza.  Spread the fig jam in a thin layer over the crust, avoiding 2 cm/1 inch from the edge of the crust.  Then sprinkle on your onions, followed by the cheese, roughly chopped bacon and walnuts. 4)   Pop pizza back into the oven and bake according to the specifications of your dough (for us this means about 15 minutes).  Then remove from oven, cut, and serve!
Look how rustic!  Look how yummy!

Look how rustic! Look how yummy!

This is a pretty simple pizza to prepare that is pretty hard to screw up, but if made the way I outline above, it’s not exactly quick.  The onions cooked as I mentioned above will require about 40 – 50 minutes to thoroughly caramelize, so you really have three options here: 1) take the time and cook as outlined; 2) cook as outlined but don’t cook for as long, sacrificing some of the caramelization; 3) add in some brown sugar or balsamic vinegar (perhaps 1 tbsp or 2) along with the onions, to help speed up and the caramelization process.  I’ve done the latter option in the past and it really does work, though it doesn’t give you quite the same flavor as if you let the onions rely on their own natural sugars.  If anything in the future, I might opt for choice 2, and simply not go for as much caramelization in the onions.  I found that the combination of fig jam and onion was quite sweet, so a little less sweetness from the onions would not necessarily be a bad thing. Additionally, although we were excited about our fancy truffle cheese, neither of us felt that we tasted anything extra special on this pizza through using it.  We have since used the cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches (to accompany our homemade tomato soup… recipe to come!), and we could definitely taste the truffle essence there, so it may just be that the flavor is relatively delicate that it gets masked by some of the stronger flavors from the rest of the pizza.  I think I would probably use a stronger/saltier cheese the next time round, as I think some extra saltiness is perhaps needed to balance out the sweetness of the figs and the onions.  I do think blue cheese would be great for this, but probably any strong cheese would do (so no to Havarti and Provolone). Overall, I was pretty happy with the pizza and thought it seemed both rustic and fancy, and it was a great weeknight meal.  We love mixing sweet and savory in our dishes (though my brother is very anti "sweets & meats"), so this worked quite well for us. Other toppings I could see adding in the future: mushrooms, pine nuts (in lieu of walnuts), maybe sprinking some arugala over top after it comes out of the oven…  and I’d be curious to see how this goes with fresh figs rather than the fig jam.  I do think this is a pizza we’ll make again, and think that the ingredients are special enough that I might try it out when I want to impress dinner guests.  It’s really not a bad dish to consider when entertaining, because it’s not really all that labor intensive but is impressive all the same. Just the kind of recipe I love!  Hopefully you will too.

10 Comments

  1. Mmmm, I want to make this so badly! One of my favourite pizza chains does a caramelised red onion pizza with spinach and goats cheese that I adore; I’ve always wanted to attempt my own or something similar.

  2. 11/04/2009

    That pizza looks amazing.

  3. 11/04/2009

    Uh oh…this looks dangerously delicious!

  4. Amy
    11/04/2009

    The pizza looks delicious. I never thought of putting these ingredients together but they sound very good. I get tired of eating the same old thing and this would be a great & yummy change! Thank you

  5. 11/05/2009

    @ Claire: Mmm, that pizza sounds delicious! One of the things I loved about the pizza I had in England way back when is that you can get corn on it! It makes perfect sense, but it’s just not something you see over here in North America. I read something that said the number 1 topping in the U.S. is pepperoni, whereas in Australia it’s eggs (and somewhere in South America it’s mussels and clams)! To be honest, pepperoni is one of my least favorite toppings! Anyway, provided you can get a premade dough, any pizza is pretty simple to make. I’m sure you could easily replicate your favourite from home!
     
    @ Charley: It tasted pretty good too, which I guess is what’s really important! But thanks!
     
    @ Kathleen: Tony definitely went back for seconds! It’s certainly decadent and delicious!
     
    @ Amy: I really like to play around with pizza toppings, and do more “gourmet” things with them that you wouldn’t find at any of the pizza places around here. Don’t get me wrong, I love more traditional pizzas too, but sometimes it’s fun to experiment… It means we could in theory have pizza once a week without ever getting tired of it!

  6. 11/05/2009

    Your pizza looks so good! I’m going to have to print out this post and add it to my daughter’s cookbook.

  7. 11/12/2009

    I made pizza dough last week for the first time and it was so easy and good! I love carmelized onion pizza.

  8. Lina
    10/30/2010

    I made this using fresh figs (black mission) I quartered them, added balsamic vinegar, sugar and water and cooked them down until the liquid was syrupy. I used a good freshly grated Parmesan cheese which is fairly salty. Although we served it as an hors d’ouevre, I personally could make an entire meal out of this.

  9. 11/01/2010

    @ Lina: I love the sound of the alterations you made – especially the balsamic vinegar! Glad to hear it worked out so well!

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