Friday, September 9, 2011

Phyllo Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes, Pesto and Red Onion Marmalade (And My Ramblings About The Kansas State Fair)

It's that time of year once again.  The Kansas State Fair has officially started. When I pick the kids up from school the same question every year is...When do we get to go to the fair?  It doesn't matter that it has been the same since we moved back to Kansas 8 1/2 years ago.  We don't usually go on opening weekend.  Dan and I will go on Monday during the day when there is free admission with your Dillons plus card.  After school we'll take the kids because it is dollar day.  They aren't allowed to ride rides, they have to wait for ride-a-rama which is all day Wednesday.  The kids have school in-service that day and we spend the whole day into the night at the fair.  Both Dan and I will also spend a day with the younger girls when they go with their school classes.  They aren't allowed to ride rides that day either, only educational things allowed- teachers orders.  We can't even eat a Pronto Pup that day. (I have it on pretty good authority that Dan has been known to sneak away and get one.)  All told we will probably make 5 or 6 "official" trips to fair.  Of course I'm not counting the nights we might sneak over after 9, when you can get in for free, for a late night snack and maybe a visit to the Beer Garden.  We have always loved the fair and when we didn't live in Kansas we always tried to make the county fairs where we lived.  I know a lot of people hate it when the fair is in town, but we have always enjoyed what it has to offer.

Now, on to my recipe.  When I decided to do a post today I thought I would do something that paid homage to the fair, like a Pronto Pup.  However, nothing I could make could compare to the deliciousness of an official Kansas State Fair golden brown Pronto Pup.  I'll save that post for the dead of winter when it's really cold and we all want to be outside enjoying gorgeous weather like we have had the past few days. Caroline's friend gave us some beautiful home grown tomatoes and I figured these would be the last tomatoes of the season for me.  This recipe showcases them and the light flaky crust of the phyllo dough is a nice change of pace.  I used a base of basil pesto and my red onion marmalade.  If you have never caramelized red onions you are in for a treat.  They are fantastic on a burger with some crumbled blue cheese.  Yum!  Here's the recipe for the pizza I made. 
Phyllo Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes, Pesto and Red Onion Marmalade

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
10 phyllo sheets (1/2 the box)
Olive Oil-to brush between phyllo sheets
Grated Parmesan cheese, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons)
1/3 cup Pesto, homemade or prepared
2 vine ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced (use 4-5 Roma if fresh not available)
1 cup Italian Blend Cheese
Italian Blend seasoning (or use 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)

To make Red Onion Marmalade:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add thinly sliced onion and brown sugar.  Turn heat to medium low and saute onion for about 15-20 minutes, until dark brown and tender.  Add Balsamic vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes.  Continue cooking for 2 to 3 more minutes until thick and syrupy.  Season with salt & pepper.  Set aside to cool.

Brush a 15” x 10” baking pan generously with Olive Oil.  Lay a sheet of phyllo in pan.  Brush or spray phyllo sheet with olive oil.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese.  Repeat with the rest of the sheets of phyllo, brushing or spraying each layer and sprinkling with 1 tablespoon Parmesean cheese. When you get to the final sheet of phyllo, top with 1/3 cup pesto sauce. Spread sauce over phyllo sheet leaving about 1 inch exposed.  Top with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, red onion marmalade, thinly sliced tomato, Italian blend seasoning (or dried oregano and thyme) and Italian blend cheeses.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes until edges are golden brown.  Let sit about 5 minutes before slicing.

Couple (OK a few) Cooks Notes: I went through a lot of brands of Balsamic Vinegar before I found a reasonably priced one that I liked.  It was on a recommendation from Cook's Illustrated I believe.  I do know that whatever brand of vinegar you use you want it to say "Product of Italy."  (Same for Olive Oil.)  Here is the kind of Balsamic Vinegar I use.  

I found it at Walmart and like I said it is very reasonably priced.  I think Dillons carries it as well.

Here is the Italian Blend Seasoning we use.
We got it at Sam's Club and it is great on all kinds of things.  I've also included the amount of dried oregano and thyme to use if you don't have anything like this. 

One other thing...You would think I am getting some compensation for recommending all these products.  If you don't have one of these handy olive oil sprayers you need to get one.

I just use this to spray in between my phyllo sheets.  It saves time, fat and calories.  You will use a lot more oil using a brush and olive oil in a dish.

A note about Phyllo Dough.  If you've never worked with it before it is very light and delicate.  It is sold in the freezer section and there are 2 rolls in a box.  This recipe uses half of the box.  Thaw in the fridge when you are ready to use.  It is recommend that when you use it, keep the dough covered with wax paper or plastic wrap and a wet towel to keep it from drying out.  I have never had a problem with that with this recipe, because it goes pretty fast if you are using a sprayer.  You might want to do that if you are brushing the individual layers.

Thanks for taking the time to visit today.  Maybe I'll see you at the fair!



Linked to the following fabulous parties:
Katherine Martinelli Best Last of Summer Recipes

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