Fennel and Black Olive Pizza

For some reason, fennel has become my new favorite vegetable.  Maybe it is because it can be chopped into thin slices for salads or the stalk saved for vegetable broths or that the fronds make for a pretty garnish.  

This pizza combines tangy goat cheese, bright lemon zest, salty olives, and the crunchy fennel.

The dough is of the no-knead variety and takes up to 24 hours to rise.  I like to make this dough later in the day allowing it to rise overnight; it is a definite time-saver.

Fennel and Black Olive Pizza

adapted from The Kitchn 

makes one 10-12" pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin 
a few spoonfuls flour
1 ball pizza dough (recipe for No-Knead)
a few spoonfuls coarse cornmeal
2-3 oz goat cheese
3-5 black olives, pitted & torn into pieces
1 teaspoon lemon zest
a few cracks freshly ground pepper
8-10 one-inch pinched fennel fronds

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Stick a pizza stone or sheet pan in the oven.

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. Remove from heat.

With floured hands over a floured surface, stretch the dough until it is 10-12", taking care not to stretch it too thin. Uneven is okay, this dough makes a rustic crust. Press small thumbprints around the crust and brush with remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and transfer the crust over. Re-shape if it's gone askew. Top with the goat cheese, fennel, and black oives. Slide onto the pizza stone or baking sheet in oven.

Cook until crust looks golden brown and cheese is bubbling, 6-10 minutes. When ready, carefully pull from the oven, top with lemon zest, a few cracks of pepper and the fennel fronds. Slice and serve.