Roasted Fennel & Bacon Pizza

“Ms. B, aren’t stallions onions?” a student asked me, trying to settle an argument with his peers.

I paused a moment to process the odd question until it dawned on me…
“You’re thinking of scallions.  Stallions are horses,” I said.

It was funny, but it was one more reminder that my students have a very limited experience with fresh food (and horses apparently.)  Now scallions are a rare food for kids to know, but one of my coworkers was eating blueberries in the morning and her entire homeroom had never seen or had a fresh blueberry before.  They’re 12 years old!  But this is material for another post.  I actually wanted to talk about another onion-like food: fennel.  (Did you see that segue? Killed it.)

I’d never had fennel before a month ago, but I always heard it mentioned on cooking shows every once in a while.  I assumed it was just one of those fancy-pants foods they throw around like truffle oil.  I decided to try it because I needed to shake things up in the kitchen. (Oh, fennel? That sh*t cray!)  I bought it, roasted it, and loved it.  For you other fennel virgins, fennel looks somewhat like an onion but surprisingly tastes nothing like it, at least when it’s roasted.  The caramelization gives it a mild spicy-sweet taste akin to licorice.

A couple of weeks ago, in the horrible wreck that was February (note the lack of posts) I went on a pizza kick and came up with a new favorite combo: bacon and roasted fennel.  (This was literally one of the high points of that month, along with not dying.)

As a fan of anything both sweet and salty, this pizza was made for me.  (Which makes sense because I did, in fact, make it for myself.)  The combination of the salty bacon and the sweet roasted fennel was a perfect marriage. (This is a big deal because I hate using “marriage” to describe food pairings.)  This pizza can be done fancy, with a real crust, or simple with a whole wheat pita, as I opted.  Either way, I can promise you that it’s a match consecrated by my holy tastebuds. (Til death in my digestive system do they part.)  Oh, and use white goat cheddar if you can. It’s the bomb.  Here’s the recipe along with more delightful parenthetical expressions.

Roasted Fennel & Bacon Pizza
Whole wheat pita
Tomato sauce
Shredded cheese (I used goat cheddar and it. was. awesome. Some never made it on the pizza…)
2-3 slices of bacon
Half a fennel bulb chopped
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

Toss the chopped fennel in a little oil, salt, & pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast in 375 degrees until almost cooked through and beginning to caramelize.  (In my toaster oven it took about 20 min.)

Fry bacon strips until almost crisp. Place on paper towel to drain.
Spread tomato sauce to your liking on whole wheat tortilla.  Add your favorite seasonings to taste. (Since I buy plain, no salt added sauce, I’ll usually add some pizazz.)
Top with cheese and crumble the bacon on top.  Take out the fennel and add to the top of the pizza.
Stick that pizza back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and crust is crispy.

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