Deconstructed Margherita Pizza with Mushrooms

Patrick and I are still working on our full write up of SliderPalooza. But I would never leave you, my dear readers, hanging.

So to keep your mind, eyes and stomach amused while we furiously try to fabricate recipes (which we never wrote down) and craft clever prose to bring them to life (we’re cooks, not poets!) I bring you a brief intermezzo: Deconstructed Margherita Pizza with Mushrooms.

This recipe is the perfect example of the right reason to deconstruction something. Although the technique always make for a phenomenal presentation, the real benefit of deconstructing a dish is allowing each component of the dish to shine individually.

Margherita pizza is composed of a handful of bold ingredients. And though I could have made this with simply those ingredients, I decided to bring mushrooms into the dish as well to add another dimension to both the flavor and texture. When baked together in a pizza the ingredients create a classic, flavorful dish. Separate, each component becomes the star of its own act in a play.

First, the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes bursts forth as the roasted exterior gives way. Then you get the crunchy, rustic flavor of the toasted foccacia. After that come the buttery, meaty seared mushrooms followed by the salty, creamy goat cheese mozzarella. Finally everything comes to a close with a hit of basil that lingers on your tongue.

These deconstructed bites make wonderful appetizers, and can also serve as the perfect amuse-bouche for an full course Italian meal. No matter how you’re serving them, they’re bound to impress!

Deconstructed Margherita Pizza with Mushrooms

  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf focaccia bread
  • 5 medium-sized mushrooms, cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn into 1 inch x 1 inch squares
  • 1/4 cup of goat cheese mozzarella, crumbled into pieces approximately 1/2 inch in diameter
  • toothpicks

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil and empty the cherry tomatoes onto it. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss until the tomatoes are evenly coated. Add the fresh ground pepper and place in the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes just begin to crack. Remove from the oven.
  2. Switch the oven to broil on high. Place the focaccia loaf in the oven and toast for four minutes, or until golden brown on top. Flip the loaf and toast for another 2 minutes, then remove.
  3. Heat a skillet to high heat. Add the butter and allow it to cook until it just begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and toss until evenly coated. Cook until one side of the mushrooms are seared, approximately 4 minutes, then toss and repeat for the other side. Mushrooms should be golden brown on both sides when done.
  4. Cut the focaccia into 1 inch x 1 inch squares. Place a mushroom (or two) on each square.
  5. To assemble, use a toothpick to skewer a piece of basil, a tomato and a chunk of mozzarella. Carefully push the skewer into a focaccia and mushroom square. To serve, assemble the skewers on a platter of your choosing.
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