If you google caramelized onions and gruyere, you come up with boo coo hits. It’s a great pairing and if you lust after or think at all about French Onion Soup, you know this fact intimately. Even on my Facebook feed in the last week, a stunning puff pastry tart with those same gorgeous ingredients kept surfacing. I don’t know Jo-Anna Rooney, but she evidently blogs for Kendall-Jackson wines and came up with said oh-so-French tart. (Check out Jo-Anna’s tasty food when you get a chance.)
And while I have no truck with puff pastry, I’ve been looking for a new starter made on the grill for my next cooking class…Make it All on the Grill! Dave–husband and faithful sous–thought a flat bread pizza might be fun or maybe he just wanted pizza. The more I thought about it, the more I knew most of my students would make the dough in the class, but perhaps never again open a jar of yeast. (I’m sure this doesn’t include you!) I loved the idea of taking Jo-Anna’s idea for a quick version of this quintessential French tart and adapting it to a grilled flatbread pizza of some sort.
On a flying trip through Costco last week (this is a theme, I’d say), I saw a package of Stonefire Mini Naan. (Indian flatbread) Search over. At least for now.
The mini naan are the right size for appetizers–quite cute, in fact–require very little preparation (as in brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper), are inexpensive ($4.99 for 16 mini naan), easy to use, and are done in flash.
By the way, the Gruyere and the onions were both good values at Costco, so all of the shopping was done in one place. YES! Leftover Gruyere makes the very best of the best grilled cheese sandwiches or omelet fillings.
Could you use different, more traditional American pizza ingredients or even do this in the oven? Why not? I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing it would work. Might you top the pizzas with your own favorite bell peppers or mushrooms? But of course. (Consider changing the herb in the onions to match your ingredients such as use oregano for peppers and marjoram for mushrooms?) We liked kalamata olives or chopped fresh tomatoes and basil. You might want shredded smoky ham or crispy Prosciutto.
GRILLED MINI NAAN PIZZAS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND GRUYERE CHEESE
makes 4-6 mini pizzas or cut into fourths 16-24 small appetizer pieces
Begin a bit more than an hour ahead of when you need these pizzas because the onions take 45 minutes to caramelize. Don’t rush this step. There’s little work involved, but there is time.
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil–plus more for brushing the naan
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon each dry thyme and brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 mini-naan flatbreads, such as StoneFire–about 6-inches in diameter
- For garnish, optional: 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped, and/or chopped fresh basil or 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives (or your choice)
In a large heavy skillet, over medium-low heat, warm the oil and add the onions. Season them liberally with salt, pepper, and the thyme and cook very slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes until nearly golden. Add the brown sugar, garlic, and white wine; cook another 5 minutes or so until the wine has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare grill for indirect cooking and medium heat. Brush both sides of each naan bread with a little olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
For each naan, spread caramelized onions to nearly cover pizza and then top with Gruyere cheese. Sprinkle with just a little Parmesan. Place on grates and grill over indirect heat (350 degrees F) and let heat through until cheese is totally melted–perhaps 10 minutes, depending on how hot you have your grill. Watch carefully, you don’t want these overdone.
Remove pizzas to cutting board, garnish if desired, let rest a minute, and cut into fourths or eat whole. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with your favorite sparkling wine.
I had good luck reheating one sad leftover naan pizza in my microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Dave and I shared it before dinner.
PRINTABLE RECIPE: CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND GRUYERE (Mini Pizzas)
Make a new pizza,
IN MEMORIAM : ROBERT FORD KELLEY
This last week I attended the memorial service of my dear friend, Robert Ford Kelley. A teacher and a comic, a faithful man was he. I will miss him doesn’t begin to say it.
A close friend wrote, “Robert was a rare bird. His love of the sacred scriptures and his relationship with God gave him a big presence. He lived fully knowing he was an expression of the divine. There was room in Robert’s heart for everyone and everyone felt special under his gaze. His adoration of the feminine was practically legendary and took nothing from his devotion to his beloved wife. He lived a “godly” life and the twinkle in his eye and his robust laugh will live forever in our hearts.” – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gazette/obituary.aspx?pid=179843531#sthash.YkYsvhpE.dpuf