Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Caramelized Onion, Bacon, Blue Cheese Pizza

Shitty rainy Sundays are more than welcomed at BLT. It's time to divide a few hours between watching football, reading the paper, and in the kitchen, e.g. caramelizing onions. You might remember this method from http://bltlobster.blogspot.com/2009/10/soupe-loignon.html Much like the onion soup, I caramelized these unjins for a couple hours, deglazing with brandy, wine, then a little bit of water. This time I used the rendered bacon fat instead of butter. Nueske's, bacon, really good smoky flavor.

Yes, you should add an extra workout to your routine to offset the caloric content of this pizza, and it will be worth it.

Caramelized Onion, Bacon, Blue Cheese Pizza

1 C 105F water
1 packet SAF yeast
1 ts honey
1 ts salt
2.5 C bread flour or AP flour

caramelized onions
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
4 pieces bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4"
1/4 C spinach leaves, chiffonade
1 TB walnuts, lightly toasted (saute pan medium low heat for 90 seconds while tossing)

Combine the warm water, honey, and yeast in a small bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.

Measure the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, add salt and whisk to incorporate. Add the foamy yeast water and stir to just mix. Throw on the mixer, speed 2, for about 5 minutes. Once shiny, elastic and climbing the dough hook, hand knead on lightly floured board for 2 minutes. Yes, by hand for a couple minutes does wonders. It's not like you have to knead the whole thing without a stand mixer, which would be for 10 minutes.

Shape into a tight ball and place into a lightly-oiled large bowl, cover with a dish towel and place in a draft-free area, slightly warm, bout 70-75F. In the winter I like to turn the oven on and the off right quick like, wait until it is just above ambient and then proof in there. You could have a fancy stove that has a proofing stage and monitors temperature and humidity, but by that point your maid or butler would be doing the cooking, which would probably be not cool. Proof until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

30 minutes before the proof is complete, fire up the hotbox to five honey. Make sure your stone is on the bottom third rack and free of previously used cornmeal.

Once doubled in size, punch down to release gas and let sit for 10 minutes. Place onto a very lightly floured board and roll out to about 12" round and 1/2" thick. Spread a ts of cornmeal onto your pizza peel, spread around and lay the dough on the peel. The cornmeal acts like ball bearings to slide your pie on the stone. Brush with some good EVOO, leaving a 1" edge. Top with the onion, blue cheese, bacon, and toasted walnuts.

Bake the pizza for about 8 minutes, rotating 180 halfway through, if necessary. Once golden brown, top with spinach and fresh black pepper.

Drizzle with EVOO if desired, fresh parm-regg, chili flake as well. That is good. Enjoy.

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