Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe | Lemons + Anchovies (2024)

I picked up 20 pounds of Walla Walla onions last week–an annual perk from our bank. This gift comes every year in July but receiving the postcard inviting me to reserve my bags of onions never fails to feel like a huge windfall. Since the season for this sweeter variety of onions is fleeting (the onions grow in a low sulfur soil area lending to their sweetness and in turn a shorter shelf life) I try to enjoy the onions in as many dishes as I can. There’s really no need to cook them at all–their sweetness and crisp texture makes them a delight as is–but 2o pounds leaves a lot of room for experimentation.Walla Walla onions are grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest and are actually a different strain of onion than the ordinary yellow and white onions that are available in our markets year round. The sweet onion seeds were brought to the Walla Walla valley by a soldier from the French island of Corsica (one of my favorite places, ever) in the late 1800s. Italian immigrant farmers liked their mild, sweet flavor and their winter hardiness and started growing them. They have been grown on small farms between the Columbia and Snake Rivers and the Blue Mountains since.Over the last few days these sweet onions have made their way into almost every meal. They’ve been added mostly to salads but I’ve pickled several of them, too. In a couple of days I will be able to enjoy the batch with sandwiches and even more salads.For Sunday night dinner I decided on one of my go-to onion preparations: caramelizing them. Slow cooking already sweet onions makes them almost like candy after being on the stove for a half hour. I originally had in mind to prepare a pissaladiére, a French onion tart with caramelized onions, garlic, olives and anchovies but I had pizza dough that needed to be used. I rounded out the ingredients with other items I already had at home–feta cheese, sage and of course anchovies (I meant to add olives, too, but forgot). This pizza still maintains some of the elements of a classic pissaladiére but I made it my own and I was very happy with the outcome.I’m not embarrassed to admit that my pizza dough came from Trader Joe’s. I used to make my own (a great recipe from Mario Batali) but when I read a recommendation from one of my pizza books that the TJ’s version is also good, I’ve used it since. Feel free to make your own and if you have pointers on how to make a super-thin crust, I’m all ears. That might be the only reason I’d go back to making my own pizza dough again. Feel free to omit the anchovies if they’re not your thing but I really like them in pizzas. Their saltiness offers a nice balance to the sweet onions here. The sage leaves crisp up a bit in the oven and lend a bit of freshness to the deep flavor of the aforementioned two ingredients and the feta cheese. A final drizzle of olive oil before serving and a carafe of wine on the side, I had a wonderful bistro-style dinner.

Caramelized Onion, Feta and Sage Pizza

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This pizza is inspired by Pissaladiére, a French onion tart but my addition of Feta cheese and sage ought to make this a new classic.

Author: Lemons & Anchovies

Recipe type: Main Dish


  • 1 recipe pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's; one bag makes two personal pizzas. Feel free to make your own)
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • Fresh sage leaves (as many as you want)
  • Feta cheese (as much or as little as you want)
  • Anchovies (about 2-3 per pizza but you can leave out if you like)
  • Olive oil
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. Prepare your pizza dough or if you are using store-bought like I am, take the TJ's dough out of the bag and let it rest on a lightly-floured surface for about a half hour before you divide it and roll it out. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven as you preheat it, on the middle rack.
  2. While the dough rests and the oven preheats, prepare the caramelized onions. Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until they're deep brown and caramelized. I added a pinch or two of kosher salt 5 minutes before I turned off the heat. If you find that medium heat is not evaporating the liquid from the onions quickly enough, raise the heat to medium high. This will yield about 1½ cups of cooked onions so you'll have a little extra for other dishes.
  3. To prepare the pizza, divide your dough in two and roll out with a rolling pin (or press by hand). Transfer to a pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal and arrange the toppings on the dough.
  4. Begin by brushing olive oil to the top of the dough then add one layer of caramelized onions. Sprinkle some feta cheese then add the anchovies and scatter the sage leaves on top.
  5. Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are golden. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil before serving.

Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe | Lemons + Anchovies (2024)


What goes on a pizza with anchovies? ›

Anchovy, onion, mushroom and fresh jalapenos would make a killer pie. Fennel, olives, and broccoli are all traditional pairings with anchovies.

What is a pizza with anchovies called? ›

Pizza Napoli (Anchovy Caper Pizza)

What fish goes on pizza? ›

Tinned fish is having a moment and this Anchovy Pizza is going to convince you that the salty, savory little fish are majorly underestimated as a pizza topping. You can easily switch up the toppings on this umami-packed pizza and make it a favorite in your home!

Do anchovies go on pizza before or after cooking? ›

If you want to make your own pizza, here's a quick method. You don't need a pizza stone or pizza peel; a couple of baking sheets will work fine. Add the anchovies to the pizza before baking, so their flavor has a chance to mingle with the sauce.

Do Italians put anchovies on pizza? ›

But anchovy pizza (or a dish very similar to it) actually has a long history in Italian cuisine. The irony of these survey results is that anchovies are a traditional pizza topping in Italy, and have been for far longer than Americans have been eating any iteration of the dish.

Why are anchovies not on pizza anymore? ›

These are also two of the most popular toppings in Italy, along with proscuitto, figs and spicy salami. In America, more and more pizzerias have stopped offering anchovies, because they weren't very popular. As one pizza guy told me, “I bought a can in 1989. After 30 years, I figured it was time to toss 'em.”

Are anchovies good or bad for you? ›

They are best known as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain and heart health. Anchovies also have selenium, which, if eaten regularly, may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer powerful benefits for your heart.

What toppings go best with anchovies? ›

Tomatoes are great to pair with anchovies since they're soft, aromatic and possess a sweet and sour flavor. The saltiness of the anchovies quickly dries down to produce one of the best pizza topping combinations you've ever tried.

Should onions be sauteed before adding to pizza? ›

Onions should be pan sautéed with a little olive oil until soft and caramelized before putting on top of a pizza. Raw onions contain a lot of moisture and will not cook evenly if baked on top of a raw pizza dough.

Should onions be cooked before putting on pizza? ›

Onions. Scatter thinly sliced raw onions over your pie and they'll probably cook through, but you'll be missing the chance for an easy pizza enhancer. Mellow the sharp, pungent bite of yellow onions by caramelizing, or slowly cooking them until softened and fragrant over low heat.

Can you put raw onion as a pizza topping? ›

You can use fresh, raw red onions directly on the pizza without any preparation. It saves time and it gives a sharp flavour and a lovely crunch to the pizza topping.

What cheese goes well with anchovies? ›

Fontina: Fontina cheese has a creamy and slightly nutty flavor that pairs nicely with seafood. It melts well and adds richness to the pizza. Parmesan: Grated Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled over the pizza for added umami and depth of flavor. It complements the brininess of anchovies and the richness of tuna.

How many anchovies on a pizza? ›

I usually try to break up one whole anchovy into two or three pieces over each slice—so about eight fillets total per pizza.

Who gets anchovies on pizza? ›

It is common in Italy. They could even be the dominant flavor and theme of a pizza. But these are FRESH anchovies (I think smelt might make a good substitute, with an emphasis on getting fresh ones).

What do anchovies go best with? ›

Anchovy recipes
  • Tomato & anchovy risotto with crispy crumbs. ...
  • Beetroot & mozzarella salad with maple dressing. ...
  • Anchovy palmiers. ...
  • Garlicky linguine with cabbage & anchovy. ...
  • Braised beef with anchovy toasts. ...
  • Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary. ...
  • Seared scallops with flavoured greens. ...
  • Turkey tonnato salad.

Do people put sardines or anchovies on pizza? ›

Canned sardines are dense, meaty and oily, with an assertive flavor. But they're mild compared to salt-cured canned anchovy filets. The salt curing gives anchovies the pungent, punchy flavor that makes them so good in pizza toppings and Caesar salads.

Do anchovies go well on pizza? ›

There is a reason why anchovies on pizza is so popular. If you have never tried this pairing it is time you do. There is something about the umami flavor that anchovies bring to pizza combined with melty cheese, and crispy crust that I promise one slice and you will be hooked.

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