Submitted by Erin E. ~ 2nd Runner-Up
1 Tbs + 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1/2 lb Bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup peeled and minced Shallots
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground Black Pepper
2 Tbs Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2 Tbs + 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 clove Garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp ground Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Aleppo Chile Flakes
2 Tbs local Honey
1 1/2 lbs thin-crust Pizza Dough from your favorite pizzeria or bakery
1 lb ball Fresh Mozzarella, torn or cut into 1″-2″ pieces
1 small Red Onion, peeled, halved and thinly-sliced into half-moon pieces
1/2 cup sliced Black Olives
1 Tbs + 1 tsp fresh Thyme Leaves, minced
Preheat oven to 475° F.
Place 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and heat until just shimmering. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crispy and most of the fat has rendered, approximately 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove all but 1 Tbs of the olive oil-bacon fat and return the skillet to your stovetop over medium heat.
Add the shallots, Kosher salt and black pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just beginning to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Add the Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 Tbs red wine vinegar to the shallots to deglaze the pan and, stirring occasionally, simmer until reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining 1 tsp red wine vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, Aleppo chile flakes, honey and crisped bacon and stir to combine. Transfer the bacon mixture to a food processor fitted with a standard processing blade and process until the mixture is smooth and jam-like in texture, scraping the sides of your processor as necessary. Transfer the hot honey-bacon jam to a bowl, cover and set aside until ready to assemble your pizza.
Grease a half-sheet (18″ x 13″) pan with the reserved 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil. Using your hands, press your purchased pizza dough into the pan, shaping to cover the entire surface of the pan.
Top the dough evenly with the hot honey-bacon jam, followed by the fresh mozzarella, red onion and black olives, again evenly spacing them atop the pizza. Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, beginning to brown in spots, and the dough is a deep golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 3 miutes. Sprinkle the top of the pizza evenly with the fresh thyme.
To serve, remove the entire pizza from the pan with the help of a large spatula onto your cutting surface or a large serving platter. Cut the pizza into 12 equally sized squares, serve with Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy!
Why Erin Thought Her Dish Should be the Winner: “After moving to Brooklyn about 9 years ago, I wanted to host a party to introduce my boyfriend and myself to our new neighbors. I debated for weeks over what to make. I had a few standards in my back pocket, but nothing seemed both fun enough for a party and sophisticated enough for lifelong New Yorkers. Since I love the interplay of sweet and spicy, briny and creamy, I started to develop the “sauce” for this pizza after playing around with local honey, chiles, bacon and of course, Cabernet Sauvignon, and then added some lovely black olives, sweet-pungent red onions and bright fresh thyme. Thank goodness the pizza was a hit and we didn’t have to move from our neighborhood with our heads bowed in shame, and this recipe has been a hit ever since, having yet to find someone who can resist its charms (particularly when paired with a glass of Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon). I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!”
For a printable version in PDF format, click here.