Caramelized Onion, Grilled Corn, and Jalapeno Pizza

Pizza is as much a staple in my house as I assume it is throughout this country, but Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and frozen pies are taboo around here.  Homemade pizza trumps all.  It’s quick, delicious, and customizable beyond your wildest imagination.

Pizza’s been our traditional Christmas eve fare since I can remember.  My dad is usually the one who gets to front the cooking on pizza night, but a little anecdote might help explain why I got to do so this week:

For a couple of years now, our go-to pizza dough has been the refrigerated kind found at either Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for just $1.29.  When my dad first found it at Whole Foods, he called it the most reasonably priced item in the store.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I digress, though.

A few months ago, my dad started complaining to me that there was something wrong with our trusty dough. Every time he made pizza it would stick to the pan, caramelize, and be oddly sweet.  The formula had definitely been altered, he insisted.  He figured we ought to stop buying the premade dough, as both TJ’s and WF had been adding too much sugar to the recipe.  He must’ve had the issue five or six times, but I only had to experience it once.  It was nearly impossible to lift the crust off of the pan and it tasted like sweet pastry dough topped with tomato sauce and mushrooms.   It was as unappetizing as you would imagine (Sorry, Dad).

The next day, I decided to make a batch of almond scones.  When they were ready to be glazed I reached for the powdered sugar and had an epiphany:  My dad’s not a baker, so I don’t think he can tell the textural difference between powdered sugar and flour.  Moreover, the sugar is in a handy ziploc bag, while the flour is in a heavy container in the back of the pantry.  So much less convenient.  When he came home from work, I pulled out the bag of sugar and asked if it was the ‘flour’ he’d been using to roll out the pizza dough.  I got a blank stare and a few moments of silence, which was all I needed to confirm my suspicions.

Sure enough, my parents had been eating straight-up sugar pizza for months.

This time, the only thing caramelized and sweet were the onions.  And they were so delicious.

For an entire pizza:

  • 3 large onions, sliced into half moons
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 2-3 jalepenos, depending on desired spiciness.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt + pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Favorite pizza dough, homemade or otherwise
  • If you’re not vegan, a handful of feta would be absolutely delicious on this.

1. Caramelize onions: in a medium sized pot, heat one table spoon oil over medium heat.  Place sliced onions into pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Turn heat to low, cover, and allow onions to cook for an hour.  Salt to taste; I use about 1/2 teaspoon per onion. I like to make large batches and use them throughout the week, because they take a while to cook.

2. Grill corn: Spray or rub with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill over high heat for 7-10 minutes, until lightly charred, turning once or twice.

3.  Cut corn kernels from the cob

4.  Slice or mince jalepenos (I minced them, realizing later how lovely the pizza would look with whole slices); smash whole garlic cloves.

5.  Place jalepenos and smashed garlic into a saute pan over medium heat; allow to cook for 2 minutes.  Add corn kernels to pan and cook together for a couple more minutes.

6. Remove garlic cloves from corn+jalepenos

7. Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness.  Add a layer of caramelized onions.  Place corn and jalepenos on top.  Top with feta cheese if using

8. Bake on a cookie sheet or preheated pizza stone according to your dough’s directions.  Mine was in the oven for about 10-12 minutes at 450 F

My parents aren’t exactly onion enthusiasts, though I’m absolutely crazy about them, if they’re cooked (onions, not my parents).  So I topped their part of the pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, grilled corn, and the most gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  Look at those babies!

This pizza is sweet from the delicious caramelized onions, but it’s a far cry from the sugared mess my parents had been, ahem, ‘enjoying’

The sweetness is balanced out by the slight bite of the jalepenos and would pair absolutely perfectly with the saltiness of feta cheese.


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