In a little over a month, I will be attending what will probably be my one and only food blogger conference this year. In actuality, the Big Summer Potluck is less of a conference and more of a gathering of very enthusiastic foodies. I didn’t attend last year, but from what I gather from everyone’s accounts of the event, it was a fantastic experience; filled with lots of food, wonderful seminars and loads of laughter. Does it get much better than that?
Here’s the thing, though: I hadn’t planned on attending this year. But as I watched the tickets for the event sell rather rapidly, I just had to jump on the opportunity. One of my big incentives for going (not that I needed much of a push), was the appearance of Debra from Smith Bites on the list. We’ve been Twitter buddies for a while, but have expanded that relationship to e-mail chats about a variety of food blogger-related topics. She was also one of the people who was influential in getting me to redesign my site (and take the plunge and switch to WordPress)… and I have to thank her for that.
Debra is a kind soul, someone who is always willing to lend a friend a helping hand. But not only that, she has a wonderful sense of humor and is never disturbed by my somewhat childish antics. And now I’ll leave you in Debra’s hands… who was generous to write this guest post while I finish my travels.
In my community of blogging friends, I’m always amazed at how much these people are like family. We share each other’s ups and downs, troubles and triumphs, and we always seem to be there for each other with a helpful word of advice or just to listen. Oh…and we can always count on a good laugh! Brian is one of these people that I truly love and laugh with. His blog, photography and tweets are the epitome of love, warmth, humor and doggonit people like him!
So when he asked me to guest post, it was a no-brainer. Of course!! So, for Brian I have pulled out this oh-so-easy but delicious Balsamic, Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
The Professor and I love to grill pizzas on our Big Green Egg. With the weather finally warming up, recipes like this become a staple for the season. Like all good things Italian (and inspired by a Mario Batali recipe, no less), the ingredients are simple. And like all good Italian pizza, less topping is more. By sparsely layering the ingredients, each flavor in each bite has a chance to shine; in one moment you taste a single ingredient, and in the next bite it’s a perfect symphony of all the flavors. Be still my heart.
While I highly recommend the little cipollini onions for this recipe, you could definitely substitute a sweet onion you have on hand with similar results. For a crispy yet tender crust, it is a good suggestion to par bake the crust before adding the ingredients. Also, if the bottom of the crust gets done first, just put the pizza under the broiler to achieve the golden brown goodness pictured here.
BALSAMIC, ONION & GOAT CHEESE PIZZA
(from Vegetarian Times April/May 2011 and Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, by Mario Batali)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 8 oz. small cipollini or pearl onions, peeled
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 2 oz. fresh creamy goat cheese, softened
- 1 Par baked Pizza Crust (use your favorite recipe or good store-bought)
- Fresh Italian parsley leaves, for garnish
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- To make Balsamic-Glazed Onions: Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Add onions, and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned, turning once or twice. Add vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 cup water, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to medium-low, and boil gently 12 minutes, or until onions are tender and liquid has reduced to syrupy glaze, turning occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool. (Onions can be refrigerated up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before using.)
- To make Pizza: Preheat oven to broil. Spread goat cheese evenly on Par baked Pizza Crust, leaving 1/2-inch boarder around edge. Halve 8 Balsamic-Glazed Onions; reserve remaining onions for another use. Arrange onion halves on goat cheese. Broil 7 to 8 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley, and drizzle with olive oil. Cut into 6 slices, and serve.