I consider myself something of a pizza connoisseur. At the very least I can say it’s my favorite food, especially on frigid New York nights. So I don’t say this lightly: this is truly the best pizza I have ever made (maybe the best pizza I have ever had). It was inspired by the Flambé pizza at Co. in Chelsea, which is topped with a light béchamel, parmesan, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and lardons. Mom and I had dinner there last Thursday night and were so impressed by the friendly service, the helpful (and heavy-handed) bartender, and of course their magnificent pies. Their small wine list ain’t too shabby either. Good stuff, reasonably priced.
The very next night, as Mom and I discussed what we should make for dinner, we decided to try to re-create and simplify (Pam Anderson’s signature move) the Flambé pizza. We bought fresh dough from Whole Foods, stretched it out into four pizzas and topped each one with creamy, fresh mozzarella, sweet caramelized onions, and smokey thick-cut bacon. Andy was smitten from the first bite. My friend Wendy was speechless. And I smiled as I watched them eat (that’s so much the joy of cooking for me). I think what’s most fascinating is that other than the dough, this pizza is really just three ingredients: mozzarella, caramelized onions, and bacon (and of course some grated Parmesan on top). Each ingredient on its own warrants praise—but together? I, like Wendy, am without words. You just have to try it.
Smokey Bacon & Caramelized Onion Pizza
6 to 8 ounces smoked thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 recipe Pizza Dough or 1 pound store-bought refrigerated dough
Grated Parmesan cheese
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 450 degrees. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until partially rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Add onions to the pan; sauté, stirring frequently, until caramel brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, quarter dough crosswise. Working on at a time, stretch each portion into a rustic 12 – by 3 ½- to 4- inch rectangle; transfer to a large cornmeal-coated baking sheet. Top each pizza with a portion of the mozzarella, followed by the onions, then the bacon. Bake until cheese melts and crust is golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes. For a darker crust, broil for 30 seconds to a minute. Grate parmesan cheese over each pizza. Cut, serve, and enjoy!