Sometimes I get hooked on certain ingredients. Generally, I will hear about them and because I haven’t a clue what they are like to eat, it becomes my mission to eat them. I eat them in one guise and I’m not quite sure… It’s not bad at all, but I have a feeling this isn’t the best it could possibly taste.
Fennel is one of these ingredients. I first tried it raw in a few recipes, and I was beginning to think I wasn’t too fond until I saw a recipe for caramelized fennel and onions. Anything tastes better caramelized right? But fennel doesn’t just taste better, it tastes AMAZING.
I have always been a huge fan of anything aniseed or liquorice, and this is just what fennel tastes like when it has been caramelized. That said though, the love does not like liquorice, and he does like this, so. Not sure what’s going on there.
Anyway! I searched Google a little, mashed up a few ideas and came up with this recipe for one of my all-time favourite pizzas!
For the Dough
- 200g strong white bread flour
- 7g packet fast-action dried yeast
- a little salt
- 125ml warm water
For the Tomato Sauce (or just use passata)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp dried basil or mint
For the Topping
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 ball mozzarella cheese, sliced (store the rest in a tub of water for a day or two)
- handful of pitted black olives, roughly chopped
- To make the base, put the flour and about 1/4 tsp salt into a large bowl. Add the yeast to the opposite side of the bowl to the salt. (If placed directly on top of each other, the salt will kill the yeast). Gradually add the water and mix it into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. When it is starting to come together, knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and springy (about 10 minutes for me). Shape it into a ball, then cover the bowl (with the dough still inside!) with oiled cling-film, and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, herbs and a little salt and black pepper. Cook for around 20 minutes or until softened and golden.
- Heat some oil in another pan over medium heat, and add the garlic. Fry until fragrant, then add the tomatoes and basil or mint. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until reduced to a spreadable consistency. Preheat the oven to 220°c.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour, then take the dough from the bowl and place it on there. Knock back the dough by briefly kneading it to push out the air. Divide the dough into two and roll them into whatever shape of pizza your heart desires, pinching the dough around the sides to make a little wall :3 (just to stop anything dripping off the base – it forms a good ‘crusty bit’).
- Spread the tomato sauce up to the ‘crusty bit’, then top with the fennel mixture, followed by the mozzarella and olives.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy and browned. ENJOY!!!