April Kitchen Play: Look at this and tell me you don’t want any.

I suppose vegetarians could probably tell me they don’t want any of this.  As well as people who don’t eat pork products (whatever), carbs (gasp), cheese (sacrilege), grapes (for shame!), caramelized, beer-braised onions (delicious!), or fresh herbs.  Whatever.  More for me.  For the rest of you… look at this.

Look, I know I should be making my mother a beautiful necklace for Mother’s Day, since time is running out and soon I’ll be sitting there on May 8th wondering why I haven’t sent her something lovely, because she is a lovely mom, but on the other hand… I have two of us to feed, a lot of groceries in my fridge, and dammit, I must win in my epic battle against onions and indigestion.

This is the National Onion Association sponsored Kitchen Play May entry #2: J’s Californian pizza!  Pizza with caramelized, beer-braised onions, pulled pork, red grapes, rosemary and thyme, and of course, cheese.  On phyllo dough, because out here, we’re light and airy.

Why is it “Californian” pizza?  Several reasons, all having to do with what (northern!) California has to offer.  I went to a fundraiser for a nursery school on Saturday night, and my boyfriend was talking my friend’s ear off about sports.  This reminded me of the cola-braised pulled pork that I had just made the day before; add that to beer-braised, caramelized onions, and you have our local sports team (World Series Champions, I hear) covered.

Then, of course, I live near Napa/Sonoma/Lodi valleys, and my mom lives on the Central Coast – home of a thousand wineries.  Hence the red grapes.

And we have great cheese.  So. Chevre and fontina.

Finally, when I was little, my older cousin gave me the book Fanny at Chez Panisse – a cookbook written for children by Alice Waters’ daughter.  This cookbook – naturally – celebrated the virtues of all that is fresh and local.  I guess it must have stuck with me, even at seven or eight years old.  So: fresh rosemary and thyme.

Nevermind that I keep hearing this song in my head when I type that.

Now, if I could just add law school, some bad dates, and a lot of city adventures to this pizza, it would be complete.  As it is, the recipe is after the jump.

I’ll be honest: this is easy if you already have pulled pork on hand.  If you had to make the pulled pork and the caramelized onions just to make this pizza?  Well, I would balk, because I am impatient.  Maybe you’re not, and if so, you’re a better person than I.

The pork adds a lot of smoky richness to the bold caramelized onion flavor.  The grapes and herbs add a nice brightness.  And the cheese is just delicious, let’s not fool ourselves.

Based on this recipe by Heather’s Dish

  • 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 4-6 oz fontina, shredded
  • 2-3 oz chevre, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup cola-braised pulled pork
  • 1/4 cup beer-braised, caramelized onions
  • 1/3 cup red grapes, one small bunch, washed and halved
Pre-heat your oven to 400 and come to terms with the fact that phyllo dough is a terrible, pesky bitch.  Separate the layers – use 6-8 – and brush each with olive oil as you lay them down on a greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle with shredded fontina and chevre, then the onions, then the pulled pork, making sure it’s well-shredded.  Add the halved red grapes, and top off with the rosemary and thyme (SHE ONCE WAS A TRUE LOVE OF MINE) (sorry).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the phyllo is crisp, the cheese is melted, and the grapes are roasted.

2 responses to “April Kitchen Play: Look at this and tell me you don’t want any.

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