Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pizza with Figs, Bacon, and Blue

When one discusses the topic of nature versus nurture as it pertains to food, I'm a HUGE believer in the nurture side of things. I don't really buy into the fact that we're all hard-wired to like certain foods or food combinations; nor do I believe that genetics play a very large role in determining which foods we'll like or dislike. However, I'm utterly convinced that our experiences with food -- particularly those early on in our lives -- have a serious impact on what we eat as adults. Fortunately, I also believe that we can change our perceptions of food.

I grew up believing that fruit and meat nary should meet -- a concept frequently reinforced by my father, who felt that sweet and savory were things best kept discrete. My mother, conversely, grew up eating mincemeat pies, seared poultry with cherry sauce, and hams baked with generous slices of pineapple and clove baked on top. Despite her upbringing, she cooked to please my father. So, while we ate both fruit and meat, we seldom ate them together.

I continued with those dietary habits... until I got married. Fortunately for me, Peef was a daring little man with a penchant for "new." He brought his own set of food aversions into the marriage (asparagus, blue cheese, anchovies, and a few odd others), but he was more than willing to try anything once... or "once again," as it often happened. One preference he did NOT harbor was an aversion to the fruit-meat combo. So, we made a deal. He'd help me overcome my disinclinations, if I'd help him with his.

And so, we adventured forth together... and set out to conquer our food aversions together.
Thank goodness for that -- or this fabulous pizza would never have been possible.

It all started with a sighting of the luscious fresh black mission figs at the market. We couldn't resist. Visions of Greek Yogurt and fresh figs danced in our minds. So, we bought a bit of lamb, some pitas, and a pint of figs. Heh. Distractions ensued. Dinner got late. And our dreams of figs and yogurt were shattered.
The lonely figs sat on the countertop. Waiting for their day. Fortunately, they didn't have to wait long. Peef emailed me one afternoon with a recipe for a fig and proscuitto tart. It sounded good, but I was in the mood for pizza. And so, it happened. Figs chopped.
Onions caramelized with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Mozzarella cheese.
Bits of delicious applewood smoked bacon. And those sugary delicious figs.
A few sprinkles of Wisconsin gorgonzola sealed the deal.
Everything went into a very hot oven for the standard amount of time.
And, when it came out, we showered it with a bit of torn arugula from the farmer's market.

Heaven.
Seriously.
Salty and sweet. Smoky and cheesy. With a bit of freshness and bite from the fresh arugula.

I'm so glad I don't listen to my dad anymore.


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29 comments:

  1. Oh my. That looks fantastic, I bet the figs and a great flavor to it.

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  2. Sounds like you and Peef are a marriage made in heaven - and so is this pizza. Oh my word. Genius. And beautiful. And calling my name. LOUDLY.

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  3. ooooh Lo: What an excellent & divine pizza!!

    So fabulous looking!

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  4. Figs on a pizza ... who wudda thunk it? I've been making pizza lately, too, but nothing as unusual as this!

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  5. This is a dynamite pizza. I made a similar one last year and am waiting to try it again. The gorgonzola really makes a great contrast with the sweet figs.

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  6. Fig and Pig is one of those incredible combinations...and nothing can be bad if it has blue cheese on it!

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  7. this sounds unbelievable! I don't have much experience with figs, but I may be tempted to try this. Thanks for visiting my blog, too!

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  8. Fig and pig... I like that.
    Must add it to my list of great pork phrases. Peef's favorite is: "When in doubt, add more snout!"

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  9. I think I might be on the nature side of this one. You see, I'm the only picky eater in my family. My parents, grandparents, and brother love fish. They all loved blue cheese. Almost all of them love olives. No one in my family shares my aversion to peas. OTOH, my brother, who will eat just about anything, has an aversion to tomatoes that no one else shares.

    I don't need to be nurtured to love the figs with the bacon. That's a meat/fruit combo that can't lose. I love sweet-salty things. I'd have to swap out another kind of cheese though. ;-D

    Sadly, I can't get my husband to stop believing his intestines won't strangle him if he eats a bit of pork.

    "When in doubt, eat more snout!" Now those are words to live by.

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  10. Ah, figs. How I wish I could love them. Everyone else does it seems. But no, I'm weird when it comes to fruit. And figs are not in my astrological match up. My friend Amy, on the other hand, is mad about them (and will likely make this pizza and try to win me over). I will love them vicariously through you and Amy -- and i will drool over the idea of a fig pizza, because is there such a thing as bad pizza? I didn't think so.

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  11. Ahhhh, the Gorgonzola-Balsamic vinegar-fruit trinity, it holds a power all it's own. I was turned on to it via a regular greens salad that had sliced strawberries and gorgonzola with a simple balsamic vin and olive oil dressing and it blew my mind.

    Adding a touch more bitter with the fresh arugula and meaty-depth with the bacon... you've got a grand-slam right there.

    /and is it fig-time?! I must get to the market!

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  12. Your dad and I agree. But this, my friend, looks tempting.

    My MIL also changed the way she cooks to make her husband. For some reason it annoys me. "Eat the grub I make, husband." That's what I say. Fortunately, my husband does not have a discerning palate.

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  13. I love the fruit and meat combo. Your pizza looks amazing and the figs are so succulent. Another outstanding post :)

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  14. I don't think it gets any better than this...YUM!!!!Figtreeapps

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  15. You really can't go wrong with figs and arugula!

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  16. wow oh wow!! that looks so scrumptious! what a great combination of flavors. did you make the pizza dough yourself? i bet that pizza would have tasted great grilled too...i'd love to try it like that someday. YUM!

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  17. I think this pizza would be great grilled! And yes, we make our own dough. I have two favorite recipes -- one is kneaded and rises in a bread machine (!) and the other is made from sourdough starter. SO good.

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  18. Mouth. Watering. I love this!!

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  19. Everything except the onions please! I've never had figs but the pizza sounds good.
    ~ingrid

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  20. Looks amazing as usual Lo! Seriously, let me in on where you shop please?? I can never find produce that looks as amazing as that!

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  21. Mel - Outpost Natural Foods is the place to go. Best produce in the city... well, besides the farmer's market anyhow!

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  22. That pizza looks so classy. I would've never thought to put on those toppings! 5***** goodness! Thanks for sharing.

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  23. That just looks totally delicious. I too love the combination of sweet and savoury especially when there is cheese involved and fruit! It's funny how we all have those little things that we don't like for whatever reason.
    I grew up not liking fish at all, but I wouldn't be able to tell you know why that was! I love it. But I did have to learn how to eat it!

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  24. I made something similar 2 years ago (can't believe it was that long ago!)

    http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2007/07/18/recipe-fresh-fig-and-sage-grilled-pizza

    But that was MINUS the pig, which I can see was a terrible mistake! Must make it with pig next time! LOL!

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  25. Jenn - Yum, your variation looks amazing. I love the idea of using fig preserves as the base... that would actually be a great option for when figs are out of season. Will have to keep it in mind!

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  26. Holy moses, my mouth is watering. What a delightful use of figs, plus EVERYTHING ELSE I ADORE on one crust. That must have been absolutely sublime. And the blue cheese....that's where you just put me right over the top, you know. I LOVE figs and blue cheese. And bacon. And onions, and arugula. Did I mention how good this pizza looks to me?!

    Also: I had a roommate who was an INCREDIBLY picky eater. No fruits with meats or savory items, no seafood or fish, no potatoes (other than fries), rice or pasta, and no herbs other than basil and parsley. Except....if someone fed her delicious looking food and she didn't know what it was, she would love it. I think sometimes, at least in part, some of our preferences are in our heads. And that's what I tell Mike when I try to trick him into eating tofu.

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  27. I have two of those no mixing sweet and meats guys.... makes me crazy! I override them on occasion. They tolerate the food or go hungry! The pizza looks, well, as you say, Heaven. Seriously!

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  28. What a fabulous pizza! The combination of sweet, salty, and smoky flavors sounds amazing!

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