There’s a bit of a void in my online life. I mean, now that Top Chef Canada is over, what am I supposed to tweet about?
Jokes aside, now that the show is wrapped up, instead of having a poll with dishes from the finale - those were all a little too fancy for me, anyway - I got to look back through past episodes and pick out a dish myself! Looking back, there were a ton of memorable dishes this season. From Geoff’s blue sprinkle-covered wasabi doughnut to Nicole’s Beaver Balls, there was always something interesting to be found in each episode.
I decided to go with pizza as my last home challenge - Becky’s winning pizza to be exact. The mixture of creme fraiche, radicchio and bacon seemed like an unusual, but interesting combination of flavours to play with on a pizza.
Making basic pizza dough at home is actually quite easy. It’s something that I don’t do enough, so I’m going to change that from now on! I have never really mastered the whole ‘tossing pizza dough into the air’ thing, though, so I need to get on that. Although, I may have had some wine before starting to make dinner, so this didn’t seem like the appropriate time to practice.
My neighborhood grocery store was out of leeks while I was picking up my groceries, so a combination of red onion, shallot and green onion would have to suffice. I cooked the onion and shallot down in the residual bacon fat until they were nice and caramelized, then pureed them to make them into the base sauce for the pizza. If you’ve never roasted green onions before, you should put that on the top of your ‘to do’ list. They are delicious and sweet, and always a perfect topping for a flatbread!
I decided not to put any cheese on this flatbread - blasphemous, I know - but there would be some nice richness coming from the creme fraiche, so I figured it would be alright. Salty bacon, bitter radicchio, sweet onion puree and a tangy creme fraiche and mustard combo; that pretty much covered all of my bases flavour-wise.
When I first popped the flatbread into the oven, I may have been a bit too overzealous with the temperature controls and caused a little bit of smoke action. I always seem to have some sort of kitchen mishap while I’m cooking in my friend Chelsea’s house, so it is beyond me why she continues to let me cook for her. Having said that, these Top Chef Canada dish recreations have given us a reason to have a get together with friends almost every week, which is what food is all about, isn’t it?
The flatbread came out perfectly. The flavours worked really well together, although we all agreed that it needed a little something; maybe some goat cheese sprinkled on top to finish it off. Next time I’ll get it just right!
Here’s a gallery of all of the recreated dishes from this past season of Top Chef Canada. Some worked out splendidly, others were just okay. Like most people in the kitchen, or life for that matter, I’ve had my ups and downs. Whether I cooked something delicious or something just average, the best part of this season for me was being able to interact with all of the competitors and fans of the show.
I can’t wait to see what culinary talent is selected for season four! Until next year!
Caramelized Onion, Radicchio and Bacon Flatbread
Total cook time: 35 mins
5 strips bacon (thinly sliced)
1 red onion (diced)
1 shallot (diced)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
⅓ cup creme fraiche
1 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
½ head radicchio (thinly sliced, approximately 1 cup)
1 bunch green onions (loosely chopped)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 12” prepared pizza crust
1. Cook the bacon in a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat until nice and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Set on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
2. Cook the chopped onion and shallot on medium heat until caramelized, about 10-12 minutes.
3. Remove from pan and puree in a food processor with paprika and pepper until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 425F.
5. Spread the onion mixture evenly on top of the prepared pizza crust.
6. Whisk together the creme fraiche and mustard and drizzle on top.
7. Place the bacon, radicchio and green onions evenly on top.
8. Season generously with salt and pepper and let cook in the oven until the crust is golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.