Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Want to know something strange? This isn’t the first time I’ve put figs on a pizza. And you know what’s weirder? This isn’t the first fig pizza I’ve blogged about. Any chance you remember this stunner from last year? But that’s the thing about blogging, it uncovers things about you. Preferences you never knew you had. Apparently, I’m very into figs on pizza, today’s Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza solidifies that into fact.

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Figs

It’s not over-the-top strange to love figs on a pizza. But it’s not overly normal either. We’re not talking about pepperoni, here. The fact that figs keep making it onto my pizza, seemingly without conscious thought, is what I would call odd. But I suppose so am I. So, with this strange pattern of behavior laid bare before me, I decided to think about why I find figs on pizza so darn compelling. This is the nonsense I came up with.

Pizza dough

Figs are sweet. I know, statement of the century and it’s still so young. Figs taste almost like a mouthful of honey, particularly black mission figs, which I favor for purely aesthetic reason. Just look at that purple skin. It’s too delicious to resist. But all this sweetness is a lot on the palette. That’s why I think figs belong in savory dishes. They offer balance against bitter, astringent, and salty flavors. The flavor of figs shines brightest when it’s placed in contrast. Hence this Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza. Salty cheese, salty meat, and salty olives – you need the figs to keep everything in balance and the figs need the salt. It’s a win for everyone.

Figs

Now, I do have one issue with figs. I don’t particularly care for the texture. There’s something about the fig’s taut exterior paired with its soft, almost grainy interior that I just don’t care for. But I find all these quibbles go away when figs are cooked. Fig jam is basically my crack.

Figs coated in honey
Figs coated in honey

Last year, I simply sliced a few figs and popped them onto a pizza, which was delicious but it didn’t completely solve my texture problem. This year, I popped the figs underneath the broiler to caramelize them first. I even coated them with honey and black pepper to further encourage their breakdown. The process solved my texture problem and had the added bonus of greatly enhancing and deepening the flavor of the figs. They still tasted sweet but with an added complexity.

Toppings for the Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Reading all this, you must now think that I know what I’m doing. That every culinary choice I make is motivated by my intellectual prowess and natural intuition. But no, I only rationalize later. I’m much more of a disaster than all that. I pretty much knock around in the kitchen until I find something that makes my toes curl. And sometimes, in the span of a week, that can happen eight times and at other times that delicious feeling can illude me for a vast expanse of time. And in those intervals of disappointment, I instinctively return to flavors I know and love. I think that’s why figs keep winding up on my pizza.

Italian Sausage

As the summer gives way to fall, I can’t help but feel crushed. The light is leaving, the warmth is recessing and I feel illogically tired and a little melancholy, which if I’m honest, just makes me want honeydew. But for some unknown reason, sweet figs on salty pizza helps. So, I can rationalize my choice to post yet another fig pizza on this blog all I want. I can wax poetic about the texture, taste and contrast a ripe fig can provide. But in the end, I made this Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza because it felt good to make and I posted it because I thought you might like it. I’m not deep or complicated, I just like figs on my pizza. I also like to ramble.

Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

So, don’t make this Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza because it feels classy or elevated or for any rational reason. Do it because it will make your toes curl and the crown of your head tingle. There is no better reason on earth to make anything for dinner.

Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Now, just one more thing before you go. The dough recipe below will give you a crisp, cracker crust. I was feeling a thin crust situation the day I made this Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza but I fully recognize that might not be everyone’s thing. If you’re looking for a fluffier, more pillowy crust, check the recipe for my previous fig pizza (I must be stopped). That dough is more bread-like and less crisp. But I wouldn’t recommend eating one of those like a personal pizza. That would probably be like eating an entire bread bowl from Panera. I can’t advise anyone to do this. It’s like your carb-quota for the week.

Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Enjoy!

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Caramelized Figs and Sausage Pizza with Green Olives

Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins

Ingredients
  

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • semolina flour for dusting

Caramelized Fig and Sausage Pizza

  • 10-12 black mission figs halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 5 Italian sausages casing removed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ball fior di latte sliced
  • 12 green olives pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat feta crumbled
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup arugula tightly packed

Instructions
 

For the Pizza Dough

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the warm water. Let rest for 10 minutes or until it gets foamy.
  • Pour the yeast and the water into a large stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt, honey, olive oil and 2 cups of the flour. Knead the dough on low until a very loose sticky dough starts to form.
  • Start adding flour in 1/4 cup increments. Wait for the dough to clean the bowl before adding more. Only add as much flour as you need to get the dough to a silky, slightly tacky consistency.
  • Place the dough on a well-floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, then form into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size. When the dough is in its last half hour of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Punch the dough down and divide into four equal pieces. Stretch each piece into a disc and then use a well-floured rolling pin to refine the shape.
  • Dust a pizza pan with semolina and transfer the dough to the pan. Brush each crust with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

For the Pizza

  • Adjust the racks in your oven so the top rack is roughly six inches from the broiler. Preheat the broiler.
  • Place the figs, cut side up, on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the figs with the honey and olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add a healthy amount of fresh ground pepper.
  • Pop the figs in the oven and broil for 6-7 minutes or until well caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Place the sausage meat in a dry, cool skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat. Saute until well browned, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  • Sprinkle each prebaked pizza shell with minced garlic and top with slices of fior di latte. Next, add a spoonful of sausage meat to each pizza and arrange a few figs over top. Finish the pizza with a handful of sliced olives and a sprinkling of feta cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. Place the pizzas in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
  • Set the pizzas aside to cool for a few minutes before finishing with a sprinkling of fresh arugula. Slice the pizzas into four slices and serve immediately with beer.

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