Archive for September, 2012

September 23, 2012

BBQ Pizza with Pineapple & Arugula

While I was ingredient-hunting for this dish I ran head-first into a big old bottle of nostalgia. In Woodinville, where I grew up, there was a small, divey barbecue joint that I used to go to with my family. The lights were perpetually dim and the staff were all surly pranksters. Most importantly though, their barbecue was unparalleled.

The Armadillo barbecue eventually closed shop as Woodinville grew and gentrified. Although they reopened as a catering only operation in another town, I never saw anything from them again. Until, while wandering my local grocery store, I saw a bottle of their barbecue sauce.

Washingtonians – If you see Armadillo Barbecue sauce, purchase it immediately. I suggest a quick nip in the nearest alleyway to tide you over until you get home.

Now onto the pizza at hand. (See what I did there?)

A great barbecue sauce brings everything together, but the full cast of characters really makes this recipe. The pineapple highlights the sugars in the sauce while adding notes of tangy tartness. The red onion brings zest and cut through the underlying sweetness. The arugula, added at the very end so that it cooks just so, adds crunch and notes of spice.

All the toppings rest on a bed of Parmesan and mozzarella that sit atop fresh-made dough. Making your own dough can seem intimidating at first – I certainly was for me – but pizza dough is one of the simplest kinds to make. You wouldn’t expect flour, water and yeast to taste so good, but it really kicks this dish up a notch.

BBQ Pizza with Pineapple & Argula

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus reserve
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 5 mozzarella balls, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1/3 cup pineapple, diced
  • 2/3 cup arugula

 

  1. In a large, non-reactive bowl combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, water and olive oil. Mix until evenly combined and knead the dough into a smooth, firm ball.
  2. Coat the outside of the ball lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let stand until the dough doubles in size, approximately 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness (I recommend thin crust). Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and cover lightly with olive oil. Place the dough on top. Spread the barbecue sauce over the dough, followed by the mozzarella and parmesan, red onion and pineapple. Place the pizza in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, approximately 16-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the pizza from the oven and add the arugula on top. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, cut as desired and serve.
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September 3, 2012

Italian Broccoli Fritter Stack

Every once in a while I cook something really, truly, supremely delicious.

It happens about once a year. In 2011 it was the Benedicto Italiano, which to this day is still probably the best thing I’ve ever made. In 2012, it’s this Broccoli Fritter Stack.

I have to give credit where it is due. This dish was inspired by the innovative broccoli fritter recipe over at rock star food blog Smitten Kitchen. Typical fritters are chalk-full of starchy goodness (potatoes, flour, rice, etc.) but these ones are made almost entirely of broccoli, with just enough parmesan and flour to hold them together. It’s the essence of broccoli, with just the right amount of frill.

The ensemble cast is just as important for this recipe, however. The portabello mushroom is simple – seasoned with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper – but flavorful, filling and tender. The sausage-infused sauce is slightly sweet, spicy and, most importantly, ruggedly filling. All you really need is something to sop up all the leftover goodies. Ciabatta? Done.

Presentation is always a secondary concern – substance before style – but this dish knocks it out of the park on that count as well. Each layer is vibrant and unique, with basil ribbons on top sealing the deal.

Cook this. Now. You won’t be disappointed.

Italian Broccoli Fritter Stack

  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage (I prefer spicy, but mild is fine)
  • 16 oz marinara sauce
  • 4 portabello mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • Broccoli Parmesan Fritters
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 3-4 large basil leaves
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium high. Saute the Italian sausage until crispy and lightly browned, approximately 7-10 minutes. Add the marinara and reduce heat to low. Continue to stir periodically.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems from the portabello mushrooms. Divide the olive oil, salt and pepper evenly and apply to the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in the oven and cook until lightly tender, approximately 12-15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the broccoli parmesan fritters per Smitten Kitchen instructions.
  4. Cut the ciabatta rolls in half and toast lightly in the oven. Lay down a ciabatta roll, portabello mushroom, broccoli fritter and a dollop of sausage-marinara sauce. Top with a handful of basil ribbons and serve.
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