Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onions and Salame

fennel pizza tastefood

~ Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onion and Finocchiona Salame ~

I am a sucker for fennel. I love its licorice notes, which add a depth of flavor to any dish or food product it graces. A while back I was invited to participate in a Sandwich Showdown sponsored by Columbus Salame where the task was to create a sandwich using some of Columbus’ newest artisan products. It was then I discovered their Finocchiona salame, a dry Italian salame fragrant with fennel seed, and it instantly became my favorite. I became obsessed with creating a sandwich which highlighted the anise notes of the salame – even to the point of bartering for a precious vial of fennel pollen to use as an extra ingredient. So, I was not surprised to learn  that Columbus’ Finocchiona was a Good Foods Award winner this year. When they asked me to create another recipe for them with Finocchiona to celebrate, I was more than happy to do so. I even had some fennel pollen.

I often make homemade pizza with my pizza stone and an uber-hot oven or grill. With this recipe, I decided to try something different and used a cast-iron skillet instead. It’s another great way to fire up a pizza, and an easy technique if you don’t have a pizza stone. This recipe may be adapted to use with a pizza stone.

fennel pizza slice

Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onion & Finocchiona Salame

Potatoes are an optional ingredient- add or omit to your taste – they add a hearty and rustic component to the pizza.  Use your favorite prepared pizza dough for this recipe. (A recipe may be found here).

Makes 1 (12-inch) pizza.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small yukon gold potato, very thinly sliced, 1/8-inch thick (optional)
8 ounces prepared pizza dough
1 mozzarella ball, about 7 ounces, thinly sliced
4 ounces thinly sliced fennel salame
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian parsley
Fennel pollen (optional)

Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Add fennel and onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and  red chili flakes. Saute until fennel brightens in color and edges of fennel and onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Optional step: If using using potatoes, add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Arrange potatoes in one layer in skillet. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Transfer to a plate.

Heat oven broiler. Stretch out the dough to a 12-inch round. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl around to coat. Lay dough in skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the dough. While the dough continues to cook, brush cooked side with reserved garlic oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Lay the mozzarella over the dough. Top with potatoes if using. Scatter fennel and onions all over and then top with salame. Sprinkle parmigiano over the pizza and add extra red pepper flakes if desired. When the bottom of the pizza is golden brown, transfer the skillet to oven. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with parsley and fennel pollen, if using.