No. 181 & 182: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza & Strawberry Balsamic Pizza

There are nights that call for pizza. Simple, delicious ingredients floating to you on a light and airy crust. There is nothing better for Mr. McCormick, and I happen to love it a lot too.

This week started off with quite a few projects to tick off before we headed back out into the wilds for vacation. When it's been a stressful day, all I want to make is something easy.

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza

Another perfect match in the culinary world. I had had pizzas like this before and decided to wing it. I'm wild and crazy like that.

Ingredients

1 10-inch pizza crust
3/4-1 medium white onion, cut into thin, long slices
Salt and pepper
olive oil for sautéing
3 ounces goat cheese
Splash of milk
Fresh basil for topping

To make

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside once cooked.

Once oven is preheated, brush flatbread with olive oil. In the meantime, spoon goat cheese into a bowl and heat a few seconds in the microwave. Whisk with a fork until smooth enough to spread a bit. Spread crust with goat cheese and top with onions.

Ready to bake

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges appear crisp and the onions and goat cheese have warmed through.

Slice and serve with desired toppings. I opted for black pepper, a bit of balsamic and fresh basil.

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza

After the success of our balsamic roasted strawberries last weekend, I couldn't wait to try it again as a pizza topping.

1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
1 ball pizza dough or pizza crust
1 cup diced or shredded chicken breast*
1/4 cup applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion
12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese, I used Sargento, but whatever you like best is fine
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small

*We skipped chicken for this round

To make

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until reduced to half of the original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry preserves and Sriracha and mix well. Set aside to cool.

If using chicken, combine it with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce.

Pour rest of sauce onto rolled out pizza dough and spread to cover. Leave a 1 inch border all around the edge. Scatter chicken evenly over the sauce.

Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly. Scatter bacon and sweet onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese over this layer. Top with strawberries now or you can wait to put freshly sliced berries on at the end.

Ready to bake balsamic pizza

Slide pizza onto a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or basil and fresh diced strawberries (if you didn't before).

The results

Our evening yielded two very different pizzas, one delicious dinner and plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Sweet caramelized onion with goat cheese is just lovely. While we made a pizza with these toppings, you could easily transfer this combination to an omelet or savory tart.

Onion and goat cheese pizza

The key with this simple pizza is great ingredients and lots of freshly ground black pepper. It really did hit the spot.

The strawberry balsamic pizza is almost a dessert pizza due to its sweetness.

Strawberry balsamic pizza

I thought the bacon and chili sauce would cut through the balsamic and strawberries more than it did. If you are looking for a true sweet/savory pizza, I'd up the sriracha, pepper and bacon a tad.

Chicken would have probably helped as well:) Maybe I should stick to recipes a bit more.

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