Fresh Fig and Fennel Pizza

by Susan Russo
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1 pound pizza dough
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
10-12 fresh Mission figs (or other variety), thickly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus a little more for garnish
Salt and crushed red pepper
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 500°F if using a pizza stone or 425-450°F if using a baking sheet.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper (if using a stone) or to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with 1 tsp olive oil.Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced shallots and sugar; stir occasionally, until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5-6 minutes. Add the sliced fennel and continue cooking over medium-low heat until fully caramelized, another 5-6 minutes. Add sliced figs cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add lemon zest, cinnamon, rosemary, salt, and pepper; gently blend and remove from heat.Place half of the blue cheese on the dough. Arrange the fig and fennel mixture on top. Top with remaining ½ blue cheese.

For a pizza stone, bake at 500 degree for about 10 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.For a baking sheet, bake at 450 for about 25 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.

**Note: The walnuts have a tendency to become overly toasted when put on the pizza too early, so I usually add them when there is 2-3 minutes cooking time remaining.

Let cool slightly before slicing. Garnish with more fresh rosemary if desired and serve immediately.

- Recipe courtesy of Susan Russo


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