Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread
Soooo…it’s summer at the farmer’s market and I decided to buy some figs. I love figs, but I don’t know if I’ve ever cooked with them. They were just so fresh and beautiful, I couldn’t resist. Then I was faced with the oh-so-common dilemma that I run into after a little over-shopping at our local farmer’s market (let’s be honest, that’s like every week): what to do with all this goodness?
To my absolute delight, we had two of the figs’ best friends in our deli drawer…blue cheese and prosciutto! I’d like to say I planned it all out, but truth is, it was just a lucky Sunday afternoon. And what’s the best thing to eat on a lucky Sunday afternoon? Yup, pizza….or flatbread, whatever you call it, perfect Sunday afternoon food.
I’m sure you’ve seen a fig and prosciutto flatbread before, it’s a gastropub standard for a reason! It has everything going for it; it’s salty, sweet, acidic, salty, crunchy, rich and creamy…all at the same time. The only complaint I have about such a wonderful meal is that sometimes I get a big ol’ puddle of vinegar and blue cheese in one bite, and then the next is practically an entire fig, worst of all though, is when biting into a huge piece prosciutto removes the toppings from your whole slice – seriously, the worst! The magic of having all those flavors together is that you should experience all of them in every bite.
Instead of drizzling the vinegar on top (as per usual), we’re going to incorporate it into some caramelized onions and use it as the base. We’re also going to cut the prosciutto and figs into smaller chunks than you usually see. Then we’ll add a little bit of gruyere in with the blue cheese to mellow out the saltiness there. In the end, you’ll get every flavor in every bite. Yum!
Once I got my figs home I realized I had no idea how to tell if they were ripe enough to eat, or maybe even too ripe? Some of them were a little firmer, some were a little softer. So I did a little research: figs should be smooth and firm, similar to a ripe plum. If they’re much softer, they’re likely over ripe (but can actually still be great in a puree if they’re not completely mush). If they’re still a little green or hard, you can put them on a sunny windowsill until they soften up. Also, once they’re ripe they should be stored in the fridge…which is something I don’t normally do with fruit.
Preheat the oven to 400 F, a and place a cast iron griddle (smooth side up), pan, or pizza stone inside.
Heat oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic powder, sugar, and pinch of salt & pepper. Stir often. When they're just starting to caramelize, turn the heat down a bit and add the balsamic vinegar. Keep cooking, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, until everything is soft and golden. Set aside when finished.
Lay some flour out on a clean work surface, lay the dough out and gently toss it with your hands, stretching it into an even crust a bit smaller than the pan warming in the oven. Remove the warm cast iron or pizza stone from the oven and spray or brush it with a bit of cooking oil. Just to make double-sure nothing it doesn't stick. Gently lay your dough on top of your cooking surface and brush it with the olive oil.
Spread the caramelized onions over the crust in an even layer, letting them occasionally spill over onto the farthest edges of the crust. Keep it rustic. Evenly spread layers of prosciutto, sliced pear, and then figs onto your crust. Finally, sprinkle the cheeses on top.
Put the cast iron or pizza stone back in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is starting to turn golden. Then turn the heat off, then sprinkle the arugula and a bit of black pepper over the pizza and let it sit in the oven for another 5 minutes. Make sure to use ALL of the arugula, it will look like too much, but the extra 5 minutes will wilt it down just the right amount