Carter and I were at Disneyland a couple of weeks ago and we had this amazing BLT flatbread pizza off the new Village Haus menu. I decided it would be awesome to recreate it for Valentine’s Day for him because he liked it so much. The Disney website describes it as “Thin flat bread crust, cherrywood-smoked bacon, provolone and mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, marinated tomatoes and arugula-fennel salad.”
I started by using the mandolin to slice up the fennel. That was pretty easy and made it exactly the right thickness. Once I finished this, I seeded some grape tomatoes and diced them up. I mixed the tomatoes with a little white balsamic vinegar and Australian olive oil plus a little salt and pepper. I covered them and the fennel and put them back into the refrigerator.
Next, I worked on my caramelized onions. I know that at the restaurant there didn’t seem to be much bacon on the bread but the onions had a bacony flavor to them. I decided to brown up some british back bacon that I diced up. I added it and a little olive oil to my cast iron skillet. Once the bacon was brown, I added the Texas Sweet Onion I sliced thinly. I then added some water to the onions so they would cook a bit slower. I had read something earlier in the week that said that onions caramelize better if you keep adding liquid to them and letting it cook off. After doing it one time, it looked like I should just let them cook on their own so that is how i did it. They cooked for a good 20 minutes with a little garlic powder, a tiny shake of oregano, a tiny bit of basil, some salt and pepper added to it. I also put a couple of pinches of regular white sugar into it to help make it sweeter. Once the onions looked caramelized, I added a bit of regular balsamic vinegar to it. I think next time, I will use white balsamic. The dark balsamic made them entirely too dark and the vinegar taste was just a touch too strong.
Once the onions were done, I mixed the arugula with the fennel and added a little white balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper to that and mixed it up. Carter stretched the pizza dough while I did that (I buy my pizza dough at Fresh and Easy because it is awesome and works really well for home made pizzas).
I tried to heat the pizza stone at 500F in the oven but I guess the stone wasn’t meant for that kind of temperature because the whole oven started to smoke. I decided to scrap that idea and just use the grill. That turned out to be a fantastic move. I oiled the grill once it heated up using a rolled up towel and a set of tongs. I think I had too much oil on the towel though because there were flare ups. After a few minutes the flames had gone down so I figured it was safe to throw the dough onto the grill. We put it on and left it for 2 minutes. I went back out and the dough was a huge puffy ball! I knocked it down and turned it over and noticed that some parts of the bottom had burned. Right where the flare ups were earlier! I took the dough off the grill and picked off the burned layer and spread my caramelized onions all over that side of the dough. Then I added the mozzarella cheese and put it back onto the grill to melt the cheese. I did not walk away from it at all because I didn’t want it to burn again. It looked good after 2-3 minutes so I took it back into the house and sprinkled the marinated tomatoes over the top and then the fennel-arugula salad.
The consensus was that it was a great pizza but the one at Disneyland was sweeter. Their onions were lighter in color and larger than mine as well so I have to look into trying different types of onions for sure. I am excited to do it again and it was definitely a fun project to do 😀 Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! 😀