This simple marinated red onion mixture is something my dad would throw together and combine with multitudes of goodies. The best of which was when he’d toss left over steak with the onions and let it come to room temperature then serve it as his appetizer/salad for dinner (awesome recipe but I couldn’t get it down to five ingredients without sacrificing salt or pepper, which is critical to the final flavor). Other times, I’d watch him simply top crusty bread and eat it during dinner. That image stuck in my head and now that I’m a big boy, I use the mixture for a simple pizza served as an appetizer/finger food for parties. Through various iterations, I found that I like it best when the onions are sliced very thin, which gives a milder finished product. A thicker sliced onion retains too much of the rawness and bite.
The following recipe uses a store-bought ready-made crust (I prefer Boboli). You can use any other brand of crust … or your own pizza dough or store-bought pizza/bread dough and make a focaccia instead. A web search will bring up loads of red onion focaccia recipes (but they all tell you to caramelize or otherwise brown the onions; very tasty, but a very different end result). But this ready-made crust method is stupid easy and keeps it in the pizza realm vs. a bready focaccia.
Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste, depending on how hot you like it and/or how hot your pepper flakes are)
olive oil plus more as needed (EVOO preferred, but any good olive oil will do)
Cut red onion into quarters. Then slice each quarter into very thin slices (paper thin … as thin as you can get them). In a glass or ceramic bowl, toss rosemary and red pepper flakes with sliced onions. Add olive oil and stir to thoroughly coat the onion with the olive oil and evenly distribute the rosemary and pepper flakes. The onion slices should be glistening with oil. Depending upon the size of the onion, add more oil as needed. Don’t worry if some pools on the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or else the room will be permeated with red onion aroma) and allow to marinate for 4 hours minimum at room temperature(occasionally stir to keep the onion covered in olive oil).
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Place the ready-made crust on a cooking sheet and evenly distribute the red onion mixture over the top. A single, dense layer of onion is preferred. The trick is for all the onion to be directly exposed to oven heat. (Note: you may have extra onions, so make two pizzas! Or a garlic bread with onion. You get the picture). Drizzle some or all remaining olive oil from the bowl over the onions (a personal preference here). Bake until hot and crisp, 10 – 12 minutes. Let cool slightly and cut into squares.