Hedgehog Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Anchovy

© 2006 Elissa Rubin-Mahon

This is a favorite of my family and also of my Italian friend Frank, whose family prefers it to other hedgehog pizzas. Don't be put off by the anchovies. Their flavor blends with the other ingredients and adds a subtle savory quality that the Japanese have named "Umami."



Preheat the oven to 550°F

Place the rack in the top third of the oven

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat; add a small amount of olive oil to the pan. When the oil is heated add the onions and a small amount of salt. Cover the skillet and allow the onions to sweat, stirring occasionally. When they have given up their water and are limp, uncover them and turn the heat to low. Cook the onions on low heat, continuing to stir until the they are reduced in size, transparent and golden. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

When the onions are removed from the skillet return it to burner over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a small amount of salt and cover and allow some of the juice to come out of the mushrooms. Uncover the skillet and turn it to low and continue to cook until the Hedgehogs have reabsorbed their juices. Remove from the heat and set aside.

(The previous two steps may be done in advance and refrigerated until the pizza is constructed.)

To construct the pizza:

Roll out the dough to fit into a large pizza pan. Sprinkle the pan with a small amount of cornmeal before placing the rolled dough in the pan to prevent sticking. Brush the dough with olive oil.

Evenly scatter the caramelized onions on the pizza dough, then place the mushrooms on top of the onions. Sprinkle the herbs evenly over the mushrooms and onions and scatter the anchovies on top. Scatter the cheese over the rest of the toppings.

Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the bottom of the crust is cooked.

About the chef

Elilssa Rubin-Mahon has been collecting culinary mushrooms on the North Coast for more than 25 years. She is past president and vice-president of SOMA, and the founder of the SOMA Culinary Group. Elissa currently writes a culinary column for Mushroom, the Journal of Wild Mushrooming and is writing a mushroom cookbook. In her spare time, she teaches classes on mushroom cookery and preserving.