When it comes to garnishing pizza, experimenting is really the fun part! Perhaps that’s also why making pizza is a good way of introducing kids to cooking (doing this in your outdoor wood-fired oven helps too). Some fun garnish combinations are worth a repeat, just like this fennel, gruyere, and black pepper on pizza recipe.
It’s best to make your pizza dough fresh from scratch, it’s really easy, and it can be made the same day or a day ahead and kept in the fridge to proof.
For the Garnish
(enough for two 12” pizzas)
- 1 fennel bulb
- ½ large white onion
- 3-4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
- ½ large ball of fresh Mozzarella, cut in cubes
- Olive oil
- Black pepper to taste
Cut off the fennel stalks, you are not going to use them in this recipe. Cut off the best looking green tops and fronds, chop them, and set aside in a small bowl. Trim the bottom of the bulb and peel off any wilted or browning layers from the outside of the bulb. Cut the bulb in half, lay the halves on their flat side, quarter, and slice thinly or up to ½” thickness, as you like.
Slice the onion the same as the fennel.
In a cast-iron pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Then add the sliced fennel and onion. Salt lightly (the cheese will add more salt to the garnish later). Slide the pan into the heated wood-fired oven, keeping it towards the front of the oven so the vegetables won’t burn.
Sauté the fennel and the onion for about 15 minutes, until tender and browned. Slide the pan out of the pizza oven and set aside.
Garnish your pizza pie by placing the fennel and onions. Remember to garnish sparingly so that your pie is not overloaded with food, particularly in the center. Place half of the mozzarella cheese cubes and then sprinkle the shredded Gruyere on top. Bake in the oven for 3 minutes.
Before serving your piping hot pizza, pour about a teaspoon of olive oil uniformly over the pie, then add some ground black pepper to taste, and sprinkle with some green fennel fronds for a nice final touch.
Buon appetito, and enjoy your black pepper on pizza!