Even known kimchi-averse eaters seem to love this combo of tender pizza crust topped with Korean fermented cabbage that’s been tamed in butter until caramelized. Use this as a base and enjoy as is, or top with sliced mushrooms, onions or other favorite toppings. When I have time I like to make the dough, but for a quick and easy version, buy a pound of dough from your favorite pizzeria or your local supermarket. This is an absolute crowd pleaser. Serve as a stand-and-snack option as part of larger spread for guests when they arrive or to accompany salads and main courses.
Quick and easy caramelized kimchi breadsticks
Serves 8 as an appetizer
16 ounces pizza dough
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon semolina flour or cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 heaping cup chopped cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped (pre-made jarred kimchi is fine)
3 to 4 ounces grated cheese, such as mozzarella, fontina or Monterey Jack
2 green onions, chopped
Optional toppings: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds; fresh mozzarella or burrata; sliced mushrooms
If dough is refrigerated, set out on kitchen counter at least 10 minutes. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a 9- by 12-inch baking sheet (or other ovenproof rectangular baking dish), and sprinkle evenly with the semolina. Roll out or stretch dough and spread the dough evenly in the pan, using your fingers to spread into the corners. It is OK if it doesn’t fill the baking sheet. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Let the dough rise in a warm place while you sauté the kimchi.
Melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat until it is just starting to brown and smell nutty, being careful not to let it burn. Sauté the kimchi until the edges start to brown and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Divide half the cheese evenly over the dough. When the kimchi has cooled a bit, divide kimchi evenly over the cheese, top with remaining cheese, green onions, sesame seeds and/or other toppings, as desired, gently pressing the toppings into the dough. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool just slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.