Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata Cheese and Apples - an amazing mix of textures and flavors!

I still remember my first day of culinary school like it was yesterday. I woke up at 5:30 am, ran around in a complete haze of exhaustion trying to get ready in 20 minutes, grabbed my chef’s uniform and left. I was so bleary eyed that I took Jeff’s keys by mistake. I drove to school, parked my car and realized I had forgotten my knives. Oy. I had a feeling I was in for a very long day.

Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata Cheese and Apples - an amazing mix of textures and flavors!

I arrived at L’academie and hit the girls locker room. I put on my baggy uniform, threw my hair in a messy bun and nervously admitted to the other girls that I had forgotten my knives. They looked at me like I had three heads. It was a friendly group. I chugged two cups of bad coffee, grabbed my laptop (which we had been told at orientation could be used for notes) and went into the classroom. I quietly told the chef I had forgotten my knives. He gave me a bemused look and told me he’d find me some.

Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata Cheese and Apples - an amazing mix of textures and flavors!

I sat down, relieved, opened my laptop and looked around. I was the only one with a laptop. Everyone else had notebooks. Chef stared at me, now with pure amusement, and said “you’re going to use that thing for notes?” Everyone stared. “No…” I said. “I’m bringing a notebook tomorrow.” I kept a straight face but on the inside I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

And so began my first day of culinary school. We learned how to properly caramelize onions and use them for French onion soup, which would be lunch for the day. While we were cooking, one of my classmates bumped into my pot of soup, knocking it to the floor. I stared at it, stunned. “Was that yours?” she asked with an almost accusatory look. Er… yes it was. She didn’t apologize, help me clean up or offer me any of her soup. When it was time to eat I sat quietly and ate my half cup of remaining soup, trying to remember why I had paid for this.

Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata Cheese and Apples - an amazing mix of textures and flavors!

So that’s how my culinary journey began. Sometimes I’m amazed I went back on day two. But that first day wasn’t a complete loss. I learned how to caramelize onions.

Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata Cheese and Apples - an amazing mix of textures and flavors!

Grilled Flatbread with Port Onion Jam, Burrata and Apples
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Port Onion Jam
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled, quartered and sliced thin
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup water (plus more as needed)
  • ½ cup port wine (I used Fonseca Bin 27 Ruby Port)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Additional Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds pizza dough or 8 pieces naan bread (I used Whole Foods Pizza Dough)
  • 24-32 ounces of burrata cheese (regular mozzarella may be subsituted)
  • 1 green apple, sliced thin
  • fresh or dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter on low heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and salt. Sweat the onions, stirring, until they begin to caramelize. Turn up the heat to medium-low. Once a brown glaze has formed on the bottom of the skillet, pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of water into the pan to deglaze and use a spatula to scrape up the brown bits and stir them into the onions. Repeat this glazing and deglazing process until the onions have been thoroughly caramelized and taste both sweet and bitter, approximately 25-35 minutes.
  2. Add the port wine and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until all of the liquid has reduced and is coating the onions. Taste and add a bit more salt if desired.
  3. If using the pizza dough: divide it into 8 even portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin long oval. Heat a skillet on medium and and a small amount of olive oil to coat the pan. Gently stretch the dough out further and place it on the skillet. Cook for several minutes on each side until slightly golden and cooked through. Poke any air pockets that may develop with a knife so they deflate.
  4. Heat up the grill to the highest setting and allow it to get hot for several minutes Place the flatbreads or naan on the grill and allow them to char for about 30 seconds. Remove from the grill and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Spread approximately ¼ cup of port onion jam onto the charred side of each piece of bread, leaving some space around the ends. Top with pieces of burrata.
  6. Carefully place the flatbreads back on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted through. Remove from the heat.
  7. Layer the sliced green apple on top of the flatbreads. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

 

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Comments

  1. Woww.. Lovely!!!

  2. I’m pretty sure I would have crawled into a hole and died. I love how real you are; sometimes I forget that when I look at your incredible blog full of such professional recipes and photos. I’m glad you didn’t quit! Caramelized onions are definitely a plus ;) This looks delicious, pinned!

  3. Your first day sounds like a scene from a movie but I’m glad you went back. We get to gawk at your gorgeous photos and experience your wonderful recipes. This looks delicious.

  4. That flatbread looks delicious. I believe I will make some with the onions I caramelized in dark beer. Beautiful photos. Aren’t you glad you went back after that first day. I am Thanks
    Jeanne

  5. Candy Newby says:

    I’m going to give this a try next month when I go on vacation back to Oregon and spend an entire beach week-end with my BFF’s!

  6. Gorgeous flatbread, I love these toppers! I think a book for your culinary school adventures is in order… :)

  7. Ugh. I feel your pain, that sounds like something I would do. (I once left a bag of groceries on the roof of my car. And proceeded to drive home.)

    This flatbread is gorge! I’m so glad you stuck it out and learned how to own caramelized onions.

  8. You have out done yourself! This sounds sooooo soooo good, sweet, savory, creamy with the resh snap of an apple- YUM! PLUS I mean burrata- just burrata. Best cheese ever!

  9. What a memorable first day! The burrata here looks divine.

  10. Loving this, Yum!

  11. Beautiful recipe. I’m glad you shook off a rough first day and continued with school; your food is lovely. On a personal note, I was an assistant at L’Academie de Cuisine between my junior and senior years of college. That memorable, wonderful experience has always inspired me.

  12. Loved, loved, loved this post! (Granted, I am slightly biased because it brings me back to my first few days at L’Academie as well.) I can just imagine Chef Brian’s bemused expression.

    I had a slightly different first day experience, but remember learning how to properly caramelize onions so well! You brought it back so vividly. This looks delicious Jen!

  13. Love this – the onions were the silver lining of your cloud that day!

  14. I would have totally been the gal to forget my knives. I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached. There is nothing better than a perfectly caramelized onion. Love this!

  15. Oooh you learned indeed. I could totally eat those onions with a spoon! (Is that gross? I mean, they are amazing, but who’s really like lemme eat those onions with a spoon… Meh, they are a jam and on the flatbread – and that makes them epic!)

  16. I definitely have to give this a try. Loos too good. I am sure the cooking school classes were hard but you learned a lot of stuff. Great photos as always.

  17. Jen,
    My book group recently read The Sharper The Knife The Less You Cry and this reminds me of it. You’ve got a book in you!
    I’m planning to use my grill more this summer, so thanks for the tips on grilling pizza dough.

  18. You are so creative and what an incredible photographer.
    Can I just give one suggestion? Burrata is the richest version of mozzarella and it is at it’s best when raw, so I would just throw it on there and leave it raw at the end. ( not being a know it all, I’m from Italy and it happens to be one of my favorite things in the whole world :-)

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