Gourmet Pizzas – I

B was home for lunch yesterday. With Erdingers and Indus Pride. And the plan was Gourmet pizzas.

I’d made some pizza dough, earlier that morning, using a recipe I’ve used before. The dough didn’t rise as much as I had expected it to. Let me blame the weather here for that. Hee.

But for the toppings (and I’ll split this into two posts for two pizzas because making them was so much fun, each deserves a post of it’s own!), here’s what we did.

Pizza #1:
Caramelized onions, prosciutto, smoked cheddar, black olives.

20130330_151706

Caramelized Onions:
You need:
(enough topping for a 9-inch pizza)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
A teaspoon of butter
A teaspoon of sugar
A half teaspoon of white vinegar

Method:
A blob of butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add to that a half teaspoon of sugar. Throw in the onions. Let them cook until soft and slightly browned, on a low flame. This should take anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. Add a dash of vinegar and a little more sugar for that last extra brown-ness and sweetness (though not a heavily-burnt flavour, at all)

Prosciutto:
(from Wikipedia)
Prosciutto (pronounced pra-shoo-tuh, if you will, Italian ham) or Parma ham is a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked (as prosciutto crudo) or cooked (prosciutto cotto).

The word prosciutto derives from Latin pro (before) + exsuctus (past participle of exsugere “to suck out [the moisture]”); the Portuguese presunto has the same etymology. It can also be compared to the modern Italian verb prosciugare which means “to dry thoroughly” (from Latin pro + exsucare “to extract the juices from”).

Prosciutto is made from either a pig’s or a wild boar’s ham (hind leg or thigh). The process of making prosciutto can take anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the size of the ham.

Sliced prosciutto crudo in Italian cuisine is often served as an antipasto or accompanied with melon (I’ve had melon and ham at a family dinner in Paris one time, and trust you me, it is the most mind-blowing-ly awesome combination EVER!). It is also eaten as accompaniment to cooked spring vegetables, such as asparagus or peas. It may be included in a simple pasta sauce made with cream, or a Tuscan dish of tagliatelle and vegetables. It is used in stuffing for other meats, such as veal, as a wrap around veal or steak, in a filled bread, or as a pizza topping.

Prosciutto slices are often difficult to cut in pieces for use in cooking, as they tend to shred and stick to one another. In this case, either using very sharp knives or shredding by hand is best.

Smoked Cheddar:
Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, pale yellow to off-white and a fairly sharp-tasting cheese. (Of course, you can go the extra mile and buy extra-sharp cheddar and I do that every once in a while, but this time I just bought some smoked cheddar. I’m a sucker for smoked Gouda, though.) The cheese wasn’t typically hard, but rather soft and I love how smoked cheese(es) have such a strong smoked flavour, yet do not leave a burnt aftertaste.

Black Olives:
Olives are harvested in the green to purple (black) stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals like ferrous sulphate that turn them black artificially.

Here’s the pizza before it went into the oven.

20130330_144315~01

Thin crust. And square. Yeah, go on, judge me. But I think square is hip. *sticks nose in the air*

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