Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fig & Shallot Pizza

Saturday night I stayed home and enjoyed some popcorn, wine, and my Glee DVDs.  But then I pulled up my blog and decided to change some things.  Then I decided to add a Pinterest button.  Then I decided to join Twitter.  So needless to say, my blog has some revamped social media options now, and I'd love for you to take advantage (see sidebar right).  I'm always looking for ideas, suggestions, or comments from you guys.  I enjoy cooking mostly because I love sharing my cooking with others.  And in this scenario, the "others" is you.  So lets all chat food! 

I was thumbing through some cookbooks in between social media blasts and found a recipe for a shallot fig spread.  It looked like an amazing flavor combination, and I wondered how it would taste as a pizza.  Turns out, it tastes pretty damn good.  I contemplated using a heavy-flavored cheese, but in the end I think my instincts were right.  Creamy ricotta cheese adds fresh flavor but allows the sweet and tangy fig/shallot combination steal the show.  Topped off with some salt and pepper and you have an easy but flavorful pizza.

Fig & Shallot Pizza
serves 2

1 ball of pre-made pizza dough (you can get pizza dough at your local pizzeria or at Whole Foods)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, pasted*
3 large figs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat.  Add the shallots and saute, keeping the heat low to carmelize the shallots slowly, about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, add the pasted garlic and heat through about 1-2 minutes.  Then add the figs and saute briefly, just to soften them. 

In the meatime, cut the pizza dough in half, and set one piece aside.  Roll or stretch the remaining half into a 10-inch circle, trying to keep the dough in an even thickness.  (I failed.)  Place on a baking sheet or a pizza stone and brush with about a tablespoon of olive oil. 

When the fig mixture is done cooking, spoon the mixture on top of the pizza dough, leaving a bit on the edge for a crust.  Then dot the top of the pizza with small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, and smooth out.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edge of the pizza is browned.  Optional: put the pizza into the broiler for 1-2 minutes to get a deeper color on some pieces of the shallot and fig.  Cut into pieces and enjoy.

*Pasting garlic is great for recipes when you want the flavor of garlic in the dish but you don't want someone to bite into a rogue piece of garlic.  In order to make your garlic paste, you can use a mortal and pestle to mash the garlic.  Or you can finely mince the garlic, then add a generous pinch of salt to the mound of garlic.  Using the side of your knife, scrape the garlic into the salt to turn it into a paste. 

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