Sometimes I make a dish and can’t believe how good it is. Like, I’m genuinely shocked that it is good. Michelle the Food Ruiner still lives in my head even when Michelle the Good Food Maker is at the wheel.
I used to be a terrible cook. I think I’ve mentioned this before. I once ruined mac n’ cheese from a box, ok. Seriously terrible. So when I make something that my husband and I both think is as delicious as something you’d get from a restaurant, it surprises me. When I tell you how good this dish was, it isn’t to boast. It is out of pure shock.
You can imagine my surprise when I made this dish…
A few weeks ago I picked up some smoked gouda. Mike asked what it was for and I said, “I don’t know. I like it. We’ll see. Maybe a grilled pizza or something.” So he responds, “Maybe with some apples and onions? And maybe a little drizzle of balsamic on top? That would be good.” HEY! I’m the one with the good food ideas around here, buddy! Watch yourself! But…thank you… yes… let’s make that.
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And so we did.
We’ve talked about grilled pizza before. If you haven’t made it yet, I assume that you don’t have a grill. If you do have a grill and you haven’t made it yet, you should be ashamed. Yes. You heard me. Ashamed. You know when you make pizza at home in your oven it just doesn’t taste quite right? Well that doesn’t happen with the grill. It tastes as close to brick oven pizza as you can get without a brick oven. The crust gets crispy on the outside and stays nice and doughy on the inside. Plus you can make it however YOU like it.
I took my husband’s suggestion and made pizza with apples, onions, balsamic reduction, and that smoked gouda. Oh holy Man in the Sky it was outrageous.
For the dough, use the recipe from the old grilled pizza post. Everything else is about technique. I prepared the dough and the onions ahead of time. The dough needs time to rise anyway, so don’t be a hero. Make it ahead.
For the onions — I wanted caramelized onions, but I was not interested in making them (they can take like 2 hours to get right). I cut a red onion in half long-ways and the sliced. I sauteed the slices in a little oil until they were very soft and sweet, maybe 20 minutes. Let them cool completely and then put in a container and into the fridge.
For the apples — I used two Golden Delicious apples. Use whatever you like. Just like with the baked apples, use your melon baller to remove the core. You can do it one or two scoops at a time. Slice the apple so you get nice round slices. Brush with a little balsamic (not too much — it will absorb it) and put on a hot grill just until they get marks. Don’t cook them too long. By the time you get them all on the grill, it is probably time to start flipping.
For the balsamic — Reducing balsamic emphasizes the sweet flavor and removes the vinegary bite. Pour some balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and put over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer and watch it carefully. It will start to thicken after about 2-4 minutes. Once it starts reducing, it goes quickly. Use a light colored spoon (wooden or metal is best) so that you can see as it starts to coat the back. That’s when you know it is done. It can get very syrupy very quickly. I allowed it to get very thick the first time I made this pizza. This time I didn’t let it get as thick. It is up to you. (More on this below.)
For the garlic infused oil — You need to brush the pizza dough with oil, so why not infuse it? I used canola oil this time. I put about 1/2 cup into a saucepan along with 4 small garlic cloves that I just crushed with the side of my knife. Put over low heat. When it starts to sizzle a bit, give it a stir and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes until aromatic. Don’t let the garlic burn!
Shred the gouda.
Grill the crust on one side. Flip (carefully!). Sprinkle with your cheese watching carefully so you don’t burn the crust. Turn the heat down if you need to. Once the crust is pretty well cooked, turn off the burners under the crust leaving on the others (this is covered in that old grilled pizza post). Then add your other toppings — apples then onions then drizzle with balsamic. The first time I made this pizza, I let the balsamic get really thick and syrupy. It looked very pretty on the pizza. This time, I didn’t let it get as thick. When I drizzled it, it soaked through the toppings and into the crust. It didn’t look as pretty, but I loved the way the crust had a little of the balsamic soaked in. In terms of flavor, I definitely preferred it that way.
The smokiness of the gouda is so incredible with the sweetness of the other ingredients. You can taste them all individually, but they go so well together. This is seriously like a pizza they would serve at Matchbox (don’t steal my idea, Matchbox!). The only thing that would make it better is… nope, there’s nothing.