Recently at The Wedge, a fantastic pizzeria on Western Avenue in Oklahoma City, I custom-made a pizza (from their long list of yummy choices) with caramelized red onions, dried figs, roasted garlic “sauce” and arugula. Sound familiar? It was so good I had to recreate it at home. I made a quick whole wheat crust, used fresh figs instead of dried and went with home grown sweet onions instead of red. Better the second time around.
On a side note, we took Ike with us and the restaurant graciously allowed him to sit on the side patio with us. Now, Ike is a country dog. He sees lots of cows, rabbits, squirrels, birds and the occasional coyote, but he rarely sees humans other than me and Kel. For some unknown doggy-brain reason, Ike took an immediate and intense dislike to our waiter, a man Kel and I found to be extremely nice and accommodating. Ike barked every time the poor man came within 10 feet of our table. Which can make serving someone a little tricky. It got bad enough that by the time the meal was over, another wait person came out to deliver the bill, saying that our waiter was “afraid of getting bitten.” Not to worry. Ike only bites when the bill is too high.
Whole Wheat Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Figs & Arugula
One 13″ pizza
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme (optional)
2-3 heads garlic, tops sliced off and loose “paper” removed
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh figs, stems removed and sliced in half
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
(You can make up the toppings ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
Make the roasted garlic:
Wrap the garlic heads in foil and bake at 425F for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the garlic is very soft and buttery. You don’t need oil to do this, by the way. Let cool completely before removing the paper and/or squeezing the roasted heads into a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and mash well with a fork. Set aside.
Make the pizza dough:
Dissolve agave nectar and yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add flours, salt and thyme (if using) to the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Add a little flour as you knead, but just enough to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Place dough in a medium-sized bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and chill for one hour or more. It will rise slightly in the refrigerator – but this chilling plus the single rise is what makes for a thin – and a quick crust.
Prepare the figs:
In a small bowl, combine the figs, maple syrup, vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir well to make sure the figs are coated. Set aside.
Make the onions:
Pour about 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water into a large skillet and heat on medium. Add the soy sauce and the onions and stir now and again, letting the liquid cook off before adding more. Cook low and slow – caramelizing takes some patience. Stir and keep adding small amounts of liquid until the onions are a nice golden color and become extremely soft.
Now add the figs and let cook for about 5 minutes. You should have a nice, sticky mess of onions and figs. Take them off the heat and set aside until ready to assemble and bake the pizza.
Assemble the pizza:
Place a pizza stone on a rack that has been positioned in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500F. Line the underside of a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake directly on this; otherwise, use the baking sheet/parchment to help you transfer the pizza to the stone). When the oven nears 500F, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to about 13″. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and gently pat the dough out to flatten it. Using a fork, prick the dough all over so that the crust doesn’t get “blisters” as it bakes.
Spread the roasted garlic paste all over the pizza and slide the dough onto the stone and bake for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the pizza and place on a heat-proof surface (I transfer it back to the baking sheet). Spread the onion/fig mixture over the pizza and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the crust is browned and crispy. Remove the pizza and transfer it to a cutting board (one that won’t melt…) and add a handful or two of fresh arugula. Slice and serve.