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Caramelized Onion Flatbread with Bacon and Arugula

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Yield: 4 (8-inch) flatbreads


2½ cups bread flour, plus more for forming
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water
Vegetable oil, for greasing


16 ounces Neese’s Hickory Smoked Bacon
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces fontina cheese, grated
2 cups arugula

For the dough: Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed and add olive oil and water; mix until a dough begins to form. Increase speed to medium-low or medium and mix for 6 minutes, or until dough pulls away from the side and forms a ball. It should be tacky. If too wet or sticky, gradually add in more flour. If too dry, gradually add in an additional tablespoon of water.

Transfer dough to a clean surface. Use a bench scraper to divide dough into 4 pieces. Form the pieces into balls with hands and place on a lightly greased parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the top of each dough ball with olive oil. Cover the sheet pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot in the kitchen to proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.

While the dough is proofing, prepare toppings as outlined below.

After dough has proofed, dust the work area and your hands with flour. Take 1 ball of dough and use a rolling pin to create an oval-shaped flatbread. Repeat step for remaining 3 pieces. If the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again.

Grilling the dough: Heat grill to between 700-800°.

Brush the flatbreads with bacon fat and place each piece of dough directly on the grill. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until toasted with grill marks. Brush the uncooked side with bacon fat. Flip the flatbreads and cook until grill marks appear.

For the toppings: Preheat oven to 375°.

Lay bacon on a sheet pan and place in the oven until crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and use tongs to transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour remaining bacon fat into a bowl and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt ½ half a tablespoon of butter with the olive oil, then add the onions. Toss onions in the butter to coat. Cook until onions begin to golden.

Reduce heat to medium, add salt, pepper, and sugar, and continue tossing onions every few minutes to ensure even browning. When the onions have reduced to about half their original amount (about 10-12 minutes) and are golden brown, add the remaining butter and turn onto a sheet pan to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 400°.

To assemble, sprinkle a grilled flatbread with Fontina cheese and top with ¼ cup of caramelized onions and crumbled bacon. Roast in the oven for a couple minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove and top with arugula. Slice and serve.

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This story was published on Jun 21, 2023

Alyssa Wilen

A Charlotte native, Wilen spent more than 12 years in the restaurant industry where she worked her way up to the role of Executive Chef before opening Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in 2013. She teaches award-winning cooking classes, hosts a Saturday brunch, and has created a family dinner meal service.