Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza

We decided to head to a new-to-us local pizza place to celebrate the beginning of Spring Break, and while enjoying a nice slice we were discussing our favorite kinds of pizza.  Mine, hands down, is mushroom.  Having said that, I have eaten an awful lot of bad mushroom pizza in my life, and the best way to get the real thing is to make it yourself.  My pet peeves with ‘shroom pizzas are 1. thick hunks of uncooked buttons that never get enough time in the oven to cook, and 2. (shudder) canned mushrooms.  Horrible.  After a lengthy discussion of the perfect mushroom pizza, I decided to make one.  It was pretty close to perfect.
This is a sauce-less pizza that is all about the crust and the toppings.  Cheese is a mere enhancement to the mushrooms and onions, and you can skip it altogether if you like (or add more, if you are into that–but please don’t smother the mushrooms!).  Here is how to put it together, with the full crust recipe at the end.  Start with the toppings.  The caramelized onions are pretty simple.  Just peel and thinly slice a medium onion and cook it on medium heat in a tablespoon or two of olive oil, stirring occasionally, until the onions get really brown and glazed-looking.  Sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of snipped rosemary, and set aside.
For the mushrooms I used eight ounces of standard white buttons, plus an ounce of dried chanterelles that I covered in hot water and soaked for an hour to reconstitute.  Save the strained soaking liquid for the pizza crust, as it adds another nice level of mushroom flavor.  I thinly sliced the button mushrooms and put them in a large skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic.  Do not salt them yet, as you want this to brown, not stew.  Cook until browned, then add in the drained chanterelles and raise the heat to high, then stir in a third of a cup of dry sherry and cook until the pan is almost dry.  Stir in a half teaspoon of ground white pepper, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of butter.  Now your mushrooms are ready.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees–if you have a convection feature, by all means use it for this.  Spray your cookie sheet or pizza pan with cooking spray to coat, then dust with some fine cornmeal.  I use a large cookie sheet because I like a very thin crust, and I don’t have strong feelings about round pizzas.

Use your hands to press out the pizza dough into the size and thickness that you prefer, then spread on the onions and mushrooms.  Sprinkle the whole thing with a half cup of good-quality grating cheese (I used Grana Padano).  Note that I do not put any salt in my crust because you get a good balance from the cheese and the salt in the mushrooms.

Put the pizza in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the toppings are getting a little brown.  Remove, slice, and share if you are nice.  It is an awfully fine pizza.

Here is the crust recipe:

Pizza Crust with Mushroom Essence

1 package Fleishman’s Pizza Crust Yeast
1 cup of the strained mushroom soaking water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fine corn meal
2 cup all-purpose flour

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, soaking water, sugar, and olive oil.  Mix in the corn meal and flour until you have a soft, somewhat sticky dough.  With the pizza yeast this does not need to pre-rise before use.  If you use regular yeast you should let the dough rise for 20 minutes before pressing it out and baking.

Thanks for reading,

-Angela

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5 Responses to Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza

  1. The Dutch Baker's Daughter March 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    Well, now that just looks divine. I hadn't thought of putting the mushroom water in the crust–love it!! Onions and mushrooms are about my favorite things in the world.

  2. Karen Harris March 20, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I love that you put the soaking liquid into the crust. I will definitely be trying that out this summer when I am cooking our pizzas out on the grill. Yum, homemade pizzas with a cold Corona. Come on summer. Have a great break!

  3. Ang March 20, 2011 at 4:48 am #

    Isn't it amazing how just a couple ingredients can be so darn good. I could actually pick those toppings off and eat them just like they are.

  4. Tracy March 20, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    I have never heard of pizza crust yeast. I'll have to look for it. Around here, they put mushrooms on pizzas that are like dried mushroom flakes. I hate them. I'd even prefer the canned mushrooms.

  5. Angela FRS March 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Tracy, I have (fortunately) never had the flake kind–sounds decidedly un-tasty! The pizza yeast is a relatively new product but you can buy it in regular grocery stores here. It is great for fast, homemade pizzas.

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