April 29, 2009

flatbread pizzas, naan-style

What to do with mountains of naan but make little personal pizzas? And how about jazzing them up with healthy, swoon-worthy ingredients?

Sounds good to me.

I made two versions of naan pizzas, both of which turned out marvelously. Before I could begin assembly, though, I had to caramelize some onions.I finally put the mandoline to use, and have the gorgeous thin-sliced onions to prove it.

But after that eye candy treat, things did not go as planned. I was led astray by two sources here: one source suggested adding SUGAR to the onions in order to caramelize them!?!?! and the other instructed me to begin with a dry pan on medium heat. I tried the dry pan method, but either missed a step or had the heat to high (or more likely, both). In about 5 minutes, I had brown onions and a whole lotta gunk in the pan that was starting to smoke.

Let's clarify here. A pan with some fat in it (EVOO or butter, or both), heated on low to medium-low, is the right way to go. My advice to you: read plenty of caramelized onion tips, and try them all until one works for you. When I find a foolproof way to do it, I'll post it here.

In any case, I made an attempt with half of an onion and regardless of how charred the bottom of my pan got, they still tasted pretty good. To the onion, I added a few cloves of roasted garlic (squished out of their skins, my favorite), some crispy bacon, shaved parmesan cheese, and parsley from the garden. I plopped that into the toaster oven just until the cheese melted, and voila. Pizza Numero Uno.For pizzas the next night, I got a little more creative. I used some of the "caramelized" onions and roasted garlic from the night before as the base, and added more crispy bacon and some wilted fresh spinach.

I added ricotta, but dressed it up a little before dolloping it on the pizza: to 1/2 cup ricotta, I added red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic salt, and celery salt. It brought a lot of flavor to the simple cheese and really gave the pizza some bang for its buck. And of course, I topped it off with more shaved parmesan. Into the toaster oven they went, and what came out was a gloriously tasty little pizza-pie (albeit was a little crispy around the edges).

So, what did I learn? It's going to take some time to get this caramelized onion thing down. And I like ricotta a whole lot better when it's got a little punch to it.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I'll bring you that homemade yogurt. Yummmm....