When we had our wine party/tasting, I made pizzas as a starter. They were a big hit but were eaten so fast we did not have a chance to take pictures. So, next day, I made a half-and-half pizza Margherita (left) and pizza with caramelized onion (right) from the left over ingredients. I already posted my pizza dough recipe. (Please note this image was not doctored up by Gimp or Photoshop.)
Garlic infused olive oil: I just crush several cloves of garlic using a garlic press and add good extravirgin olive oil and mix. Use this to brush pizza dough and crust.
Tomato sauce: Tomato sauce was made similar to my Marinara sauce but I added a small amount of port wine (Cheap Ruby port from Taylor) and simmered it longer so that the moisture level was very low.
Cheese: I used fresh cow’s milk mozzarella. I usually use smoked mozzarella for the caramelized onion pizza but I used up all the smoked cheese I had for the pizzas at the wine party. So, for this pizza I used regular mozzarella and small chunks of fresh goat cheese. I do not shred the mozzarella but slice it (the reason becomes clear in the assembly part below). It is easier to cut thin slices when the mozzarella is cold using a thin bladed knife.
Caramelized onion: Simply saute halved and thinly sliced onion in olive oil. This requires some patience until the onion become wilted and dark brown (15 minutes or longer). When enough brown “fond” appears on the bottom of the saute pan, I deglaze it with small amount of water which helps to color and flavor the onion but you need to saute further to evaporate most of the liquid.
Pine nuts: We keep pine nuts in a freezer. Just dry roast them in a frying pan until slightly brown.
Assembly: I sprinkle corn meal on a pizza peel and place the stretched and formed pizza dough on the corn meal before starting the assembly. Give the peel a quick tug to make sure the dough moves freely before adding the topping.
Pizza Margherita: I brush the garlic infused olive oil on the prepared dough. I put the slices of mozzarella cheese on the pizza first and then place a small amount of the tomato sauce on top of the cheese slices. (Usually the sauce is put on first and then the cheese). While my method is the opposite of what is usually done, I think this makes a better pizza since the cheese protects the crust from the moisture of the sauce. The result is a crispier crust.
Caramelized onion: The same as above but I spread the caramelized onion over the slices of cheese and then dot it with small chunks of the fresh goat cheese and sprinkle the pine nuts.
: I bake for 8-9 minutes directly on a hot pizza stone by sliding the assembled pizza off the pizza peel. I preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes to 450F before baking–with the pizza stone in.
Take the pizza out and brush the edge of the crust with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. For Margherita, I garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil.
We had this with the leftover wine from the day before, The 2005 Clos Mogador
(about half the bottle left). The wine was much better than the first time we tasted it. The funky nose was totally dissipated. This wine has a very nice complex taste and went particularly well with the caramelized onion.