Onion Confit Flatbread
Flatbreads make delicious appetizers or light dinners. One of our favorites is dressed with onion confit--deeply caramelized onions that are slowly cooked to a jam-like consistency. Savory and slightly sweet, it is a delicious foil for salty cured meats, tangy cheese, bitter greens, or sweet-tart fruit slices. Flatbread crusts can anything from homemade pizza crusts to refrigerated or frozen ones. Thin and crispy are our favorites, but a foccacia-like base would be interesting too. Puff pastry is an option. And, if you're eating gluten free, there are a number of frozen crusts that are delicious.
- cast iron, stainless or aluminum skillet
- pizza stone (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 yellow onions quartered and finely sliced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (red wine or balsamic work nicely as well)
- unbaked or par-baked pizza crust
- selection of meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruit slices
- 1 bunch arugula optional
Onion Confit (adapted from the Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook)
- Heat the oil and butter in a cast iron, stainless, or aluminum skillet over low heat.
- Add the onions and pepper and cook until completely wilted, slowly stirring occasionally, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Add the sherry vinegar, stir, and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the onions are a rich caramel color.
- Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Onion confit also freezes well.
- Heat oven (and pizza stone if used) to 425 degrees.
- Lightly brush the top of your crust with olive oil and place on a sheet pan, pizza stone, or directly on the center oven rack.
- Bake crust for 5-6 minutes or until barely brown at the edges.
- Sprinkle a very thin layer of shredded cheese over the onions. We used shredded gouda; however, let your palate be your guide. It shoudn't be much, however.
- Layer additional ingredients to taste. Our "model" uses prosciutto strips and apple slices. We love ham and figs when in season. Try barely boiled potato slices and bacon crumbles. A mix of sweet, salty, and umami (or meaty) flavors is our goal.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded parmesan cheese to finish. Again, substitute to your taste--and what's in the fridge.
- Return the flatbread to the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes on a middle rack until browned to taste.
- Remove the flatbread to a board. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, and slice. Top with a handful of arugula (optional).
- Serve immediately.
•Don't use non-stick cookware if you're attempting to caramelize onions. You need a bit of sticking to generate the gentle toasting that is the trademark of the Maillard Reaction--the chemical change in food that gives us browning. The flavors just don't seem to develop properly otherwise. •Don’t be afraid to improvise. For example, use balsamic or red wine vinegar—whatever’s in the pantry.