If, like me, you get a lot of your culinary inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram (I admit it, I’m completely addicted to both), you might well think that pumpkin and squash were the only vegetables available from September through November. Not true!
Don’t get me wrong, I love squash and that high-pitched squeal you heard was probably me squee-ing with excitement when the first delicatas arrived at the farmer’s market but a girl’s gotta mix it up a little, right?
Thus, our Brussels Sprout Pizza with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese was born.
Sheet-pan pizzas are one of our favorite weeknight dinners. Sometimes we make dough, but more often than not we pick one up, perfect and ready to be rolled out, from our local Adams Fairacre Farm shop. The version we make most often is probably garlicky broccoli rabe with a little turkey sausage and red chili flakes. Delicious, but we had none of those things. What we did have was a few brussels sprouts left over from another recipe – just about a half pound or so – not enough for a full side dish, but enough for a generous scattering of leaves on top of a bed of gooey mozzarella.
Instead of red sauce (or no sauce, a la Motorino’s version) I decided to make some balsamic-glazed caramelized red onions and use them as a bed on top of the dough. Wow, are they good. They add sweetness, moisture and a subtle tanginess that balances the rich cheese and crispy sprouts. The onions take a few minutes to caramelize, but they’re so worth it.
Of course you could just use mozzarella and maybe a sprinkle of grated Parmesan but the goat cheese adds a lovely tang and a creamy texture that is so good with the crispy sprouts. And those sprouts… If you’re not already a fan, this Brussels sprout pizza may well be the dish that converts you. Brown and crisp as potato chips, these are miles away from the dull gray vegetables of doom that ruined Thanksgiving for so many.
The trick here is to pull apart the individual leaves so the blast of heat crisps them in just a few minutes. I also like to finely shred a few for textual contrast. You don’t want any large chunks which would steam and get soggy. Make sure they are completely coated in a little oil, you don’t need a lot, just make sure to rub it all around evenly.
Brussels Sprout Pizza with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
For the onions:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large red onions thinly sliced
- Coarse kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the brussels sprouts:
- 8 ounces large brussels sprouts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Pizza:
- 1 batch homemade or store-bought pizza dough
- 6 to 8 ounces mozzarella cheese grated (1 1/2 - 2 cups)
- 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese crumbled (1/4 cup)
- Preheat oven to 450º F.
- Prep the sprouts by slicing off the tough bottom ends and discarding them. On half the sprouts, peel off individual leaves, discarding the tough middle. On the other half, shred them as finely as you can, using a knife or mandolin, discarding the tough bottoms. Drizzle the sprouts with 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss well until they're all lightly coated in oil (add another teaspoon of oil if necessary).Toss with a good pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt and toss to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Uncover and cook until translucent and tender, 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook while stirring for a few more minutes, until the vinegar has mostly soaked into the onions. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Roll out the pizza dough onto a sheet of parchment paper set on a baking tray. Leaving the edge free, spread out an even layer of red onions, then the mozzarella cheese. Add the sprouts on top, mixing up the leaves and shredded pieces. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, if desired and a good sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Transfer pizza to the oven at a time and bake until the crust is puffy and brown and the sprouts are crispy on the edges, about 12-15 minutes. As soon as the pizza does out, sprinkle on crumbles of goat cheese and more black pepper, if desired.