Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Olives and Herbs

Pizza dough (purchase enough dough from your favorite pizza parlor for a "large pizza), unrolled

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons butter

10 yellow onions (about 31/2 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced

10 cloves garlic, slivered

4 bay leaves

2 teaspoons light- or dark-brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cornmeal, for dusting pizza pan

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh basil

3 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh oregano leaves

11/2 cups Nicoise olives, pitted and sliced

Refrigerate the dough while you proceed with recipe.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, combine 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and the butter. Add the onions, garlic and bay leaves, then sprinkle with the brown sugar, salt and white pepper, tossing gently to thoroughly coat onions with seasonings. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes without stirring.

Remove lid, increase temperature to medium-high and continue cooking and stirring for 15 minutes. For final phase, increase temperature to high, and, stirring constantly, continue cooking until onions are a rich, golden brown. This will take about 10 more minutes (total cooking time will be about 45 minutes). Stir in the wine and vinegar and deglaze pan by stirring well to loosen any cooked-on bits from bottom; set aside.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, pat and roll dough to fit a 16-inch, round pizza pan or a 12-by-16-inch baking sheet. Sprinkle pan with a thin layer of cornmeal, then press dough into pan, rolling edges slightly to create a rim. Brush the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over surface, then arrange onions evenly over dough. Sprinkle on the cheese and fresh herbs, then add the olives. Bake until crust is a rich, golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares and serve.

Makes 6 entree or 12 side-dish servings.

— Recipe from "The Onion Book," by Jan Roberts-Dominguez.

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