Friday, June 11, 2010

Onion & Olive Calzone

My food experiences growing up were very limited. I was the oldest of three and we were all picky eaters. If it wasn't due to alleries then it was the texture or color or the smell. But, don't fret I really didn't know what I was missing.It wasn't until I met my husband and his family that I began to taste and experience new and interesting foods. Now don't get excited again I'm the one with food allergies!
As a newly wed I wanted to learn how to make the foods that my husband liked. It was my dear, sweet (no lie) mother in-law that came to my rescue. She taught me all her savory dishes. One such item was a Onion & Olive Calzone. Now this isn't your typical calzone- nope no cheese in this one. It is simple to make and very tasteful. For us it is a finger food, something I make as a nibble for company or a easy lunch for my family (easy yes just time consuming but worth it).
Onion Olive Calzone starts with a pizza dough; made from scratch which I will explain shortly or with a store bought or pizzeria bought dough. It is filled with carmelized onions and sliced olives. Sounds simple, right? So here goes:
Basic Pizza Dough:
1 pkg or 1 tbs Yeast
1 cup Water (@ 110 degrees no higher
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sugar
2 1/2 to 3 cups Flour
In a large bowl combine the water, sugar, and olive oil; sprinkle the yeast over the top and give it a stir. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to proof. You should see a foamy layer on top. If not the yeast is dead and you need to start all over with fresh yeast.
Add half the flour ( about 1 1/2 cups) and the salt and stir with a large spoon until smooth (it will be very sticky). Add another 1/2 cup and dump (nice word) mixture on a lightly floured surface. Begin kneading with your hands adding about 1/4 cup more of the flour until you have a moist (tiny bit sticky) mass. Knead this at least 5 minutes sprinkling flour only as needed. The amount of flour will depend on the humidity and your measuring skills. (It could change each time you make this dough.)
The dough with be smooth, pliable, and won't stick to your hands. Now the dough goes into a large well oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rise in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size ( about 1 hour).
Then punch (so violent) the mass down and divide into two portions. Cover and let rest 15 more minutes in a warm place. This amount of dough will make a finished calzone of approximately 12x18. You can make 2 smaller ones if you prefer.
In the meantime thinly slice up about 3-4 LARGE onions. In a large skillet add the onions, 2 tbs butter, and 2 tbs olive oil. Cover and let sweat until slighly softened. Uncover and continue to cook until golden and caramelized; set aside. Slice up some black olives (as many as you like); set aside.
Pour about 2 tbs of olive oil into your baking pan. Put one ball of dough in the prepared pan, using your finger tips spread the dough to fill the pan. Spread the onions and olives across the surface. On your work surface using your fingers aand some olive oil make a disk large enough to cover cover the onion-olive mixture. Place in and tuck the edges all the way around. Cover the calzone and let rise 15-20 minutes. In the meantime preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
When the oven is ready smear a little olive oil on the surface of the calzone and bake 20-30 minutes until golden; top and bottom. Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn out of baking pan.
Slice in strips about 1-1 1/2" thick. It can be served warm or room temperature.
I know this sounds like alot of work, but it really isn't. If you like onions and olives you will love this.
Hope you try it! Enjoy!

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