I started reading the blog food52 a while back and was intrigued by their contests. If you’re not familiar with food52, it’s a forum for cooks to post and share recipes. One feature is a biweekly contest that solicits recipes for a certain theme, always beginning “Your Best…,” e.g., “Your Best One-Bite Party Snack.” I had to pass on the “Your Best Charcuterie” contest, since my family and I are pretty much vegetarians, but the next contest was “Your Best Walnuts and Sage,” so I decided to have a go. I was excited by the idea of two complementary ingredients and a thousand ways of using them together.
After scrolling through a mental Rolodex of possibilities, I finally hit upon the idea of a flat bread or pizza with carmelized onions, pears, walnuts, sage, and blue cheese. The results exceeded my expectations, melding the sweetness of pears, crunch of walnuts, tang of blue cheese, and undercurrent of earthy sage with the crispiness of the thin crust. I submitted the recipe and waited. Actually, I checked the website a few times a day to see how many “views” my recipe had picked up. It was pitifully slow.
The editors of food52, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, test some of the recipes and choose two finalists that viewers then vote for. They also choose some entries that they ask members of the community to test to be “Editors’ Picks”. It’s a very democratic process, and from what I can tell so far, the contests seem like pretty friendly competition. The comments from the food52 community are supportive and generous.
To date, my flat bread recipe has received 53 “views” and 2 “saves.” It wasn’t chosen as a finalist or an Editors’ Pick, but I feel like I’m becoming a member of a community that’s very diverse, loves food, and supports one another.
Carmelized Onion, Pear, Blue Cheese, Walnut & Sage Flat Bread
1 Whole Wheat Pizza Dough*
2+ Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Sage
2 Pears, cored and sliced
1/3 cup chopped Walnuts
2/3 cup crumbled Blue Cheese
I made pizza dough using Jim Lahey‘s recipe, substituting whole wheat flour for one third of the bread flour, but you can also use purchased whole wheat pizza dough. Oil a 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking sheet and press and stretch the dough out to fill the sheet.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F with rack in middle of oven. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat and add onions and salt. Saute onions until golden brown and carmelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and fresh sage.
Spread carmelized onions evenly over the dough, then top with pears, walnuts, and blue cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.