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Apple, Bacon and Onion Pizza

Apple, Bacon and Onion Pizza
  

A reader connected me the other day with Jeff Varasano's New York Pizza Recipe, a site about one obsessed man's quest to duplicate in his home kitchen the great New York style slices he's had in their makers' parlors. Along the way he says that if you come across a recipe like the one I use for dough (yeast, water, salt, food processor, 2 risings) you should "run away screaming" (he recommends a sourdough crust). Later he explains how to modify your home oven to attain the 800º temperatures required to get that special New York style scorched-crisp crust (easy: just cut off the locking latch that normally prevents you from opening the oven during the cleaning cycle).

I have a lot of respect for this guy, as I do for Jeffrey Steingarten and Peter Reinhart and all the other seekers who work to reproduce authenticity in their home kitchens. After all, it's a lot of work to reverse engineer food that developed over generations and spans continents, even if it is more than passing similar to starting tribute band to mimic my favorite metal artists. After I gave up trying to decide whether "reproduce authenticity" is an oxymoron, I got to thinking about the legitimacy of my "run away screaming" dough and the pizzas I bake for 20 minutes in my puny 450º oven (Verasano says his take 2-1/2 minutes).

No, it's not an exact reproduction of the excellent pizza you can get in Venice, Calabria, New York or New Haven. But it's pretty good food you can make in any home kitchen, and since my basic approach to cooking is to try to riff a little on the established recipes and make something that satisfies me and my guests, it's something that I'll keep doing as long as new ideas keep coming. Authentic or not, it rings my bell....

Ok, now that I got that out of my system, a few words about this week's pizza. With the advent of crisp golden days of the Maine fall, I always get the primordial urge to cook with apples, and (for savory dishes) if there are apples on the cutting board onions and bacon can't be far off. This was an extremely satisfying attempt at a dish with these ingredients, certainly due to some extent to the use of hand-smoked slab bacon.

Apple, Bacon and Onion Pizza

1/2 recipe pizza dough
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced in thin slices
4 slices lean bacon, preferably cut from a hand-smoked slab
2 T butter
3/4 C dry white wine
1 medium onion, in thin slices
2 T olive oil
2 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
6 leaves fresh sage
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
3 scallions, chopped

Sauté the bacon for a few minutes on medium low heat, then add the wine and sage, cover and braise on low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon to a side plate and cut in pieces.  Add the butter and apple slices to the pan and sauté over medium low heat, tossing gently with tongs, for about 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften. Remove from heat.

When the dough has finished the second rising, spread the olive oil over the shell and then the onions. Bake 10 minutes on the preheated stone in a 450º oven. Add the cheeses and rosemary and then the apple slices. Scatter on the bacon. Lower the temperature to 400º and bake another 10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Brush the crust with a little olive oil, scatter on the scallions, slice and serve.

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Comments

Authenticity matters not when you have some incredible ingredients like apple bacon!!

You've nearly made the Alsatian Flammkuchen -- just sauce with a mix of creme fraiche and quark! Don't worry, you're still just inauthentic enough to be (a) innovative, and (b) stepping on people's toes. Keep it up!

loving the look of your pizza...would never have thought to use apples but makes perfect sense

would have never thought of using the apple. Love the sound of this pizza. Authentic or not, we love our recipe for the crust when we make pizza........!

Oh. My. Gosh. YUM.

With the cool weather we are finally getting, just the ticket! It sounds fabulous...why am I not surprised!

Wow...somehow I think cutting off that lock is a bad idea...no matter how much I want good pizza...

Oh wow, what a delicious sounding combination! I really need to try that. I agree that Jeff's dedication to the cause of his perfect pizza is astounding and laudable, but it is soooo never going to happen in my life. Any recipe that starts with slicing off a mechanism meant to protect you from your appliance is off my shopping list ;-) Having said that, I followed his advice on our recent trip to NYC and had a truly memorable pizza at Luzzo's. As for Maine apples, do you get Macouns up there too? I discovered them in Connecticut and I'm just HOOKED! Why oh why don't we have them in the UK?!

Stephen - just got sent a book by heston blumenthal of the fat duck in england and it is to accompany a series on TV in the UK where he tries for 'perfection' in 8 popular dishes in Britain. The pizza chapter goes up to the cut off the latch thing but eventually settles on a method where you put the oven as hot as it will go, simultaneously heat your largest cast iron skillet to really hot on the stove and then put it in the oven just under the broiler, slide the pizza on and switch to broiler immediately. He says it takes 2 minutes to cook and does as well as cutting the latch off.

Personally I'm fine with 450 degrees and finishing under the broiler if the base gets ahead of the topping (which sometimes happens with my stove)

I have some local bacon in the freezer, some granny smith apples and some pizza dough in the fridge--I know what I'll be making for dinner tonight! Thanks!

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