Written Recipes
LKB Banh Mi Pizza
Brad English

For some time, I have suggested that when our friend Kim Wildermuth's sister, Loan (pronounced Lahn),  who's mother is responsible for our favorite "Mom's Soy Pickled Jalapeños" comes to visit, that we get together and make a Vietnemese inspired pizza.  I have been a lucky guest on many of her visits from Oregon, when she and her husband Randy make the trip down to cook for me.  (Well, maybe they're here visiting Kim, but in my mind it's all about cooking for me!)  Kim is an amazing cook in her own right, we've posted a few of our cooking sessions here, though she always humbly defers to the excellence of both her mother and sister as the truly great cooks.  Let me say, for the record, that they are all pretty awesome in the kitchen!

The first time I mentioned my idea of making a Vietnamese pizza Loan thought I was crazy. She loves to bake fresh breads and was interested in getting together on one of her visits and making pizza with me, but making a Vietnamese pizza wasn't on her mind.  I just think she didn't connect the two culinary cultures.  That's where my madness comes in; I planted the seeds.  Time cultivated the concept and a recent trip provided the chance to finally make some pizzas together. We traded some emails and Kim and I kicked some ideas back and forth, then she and her sister kicked them around and, aha, we wound up coming up with a pizza tribute to the famous Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches!

What makes the Banh Mi sandwich so good?  As with any good sandwich, it starts with the bread. After the French colonization of Vietnam ended in 1954, one of the things left behind was the French baguette.  When they first introduced this the Vietnamese called it Banh Tay, which means "Foreign Cake".  It eventually became known as Banh Mi which basically means "bread."  "Mi" is wheat.  The coming together of cultures reminds me of the old commercials where someone is walking down the street eating chocolate and would bump into that strange individual who walked around with a peanut butter jar.  When they inadvertently came together we supposedly ended up with the Reese's Peanut Butter cup!  Well, as much as I like a peanut butter cup, I'll take a crisp warm Banh Mi sandwich, filled with a spicy, tangy concoction of marinaded pork, pickled carrots, cucumber and daikon with a little mayo, jalapeño and cilantro to top it off.

Sounds a little like a pizza to me.  Warm crusty dough topped with all of these delicious ingredients. On top of that, another great aspect of this pizza concept that I love so much is the combination of warm and cool ingredients coming together.  The change of temperatures you experience as you bite into a warm pizza dough, with hot oozy cheeses, topped with a cool juicy topping, adds another element to your experience.

I decided to try a new dough variation for this pizza.  I made up one of my favorite pizza doughs -- Peter's Signature Bruery Beer Dough -- but during the preparation I substituted a Sriracha Seasoned Salt that I made to see how that might give the dough a little more participation in this flavor party.

 

The LKB Bahn Mi Pizza  (Loan, Kim and Brad)

- Peter's Signature Bruery Pizza Dough *Made with Sriracha Seasoned Salt (I'll post this salt recipe soon -- till then, use your favorite pizza dough)

- Peter's Chili Oil *Link to Recipe

- Brad's Spicy Mayonnaise Sauce *Link to Recipe

- Chinese Barbeque marinaded pork loin

- Sliced Pickled Carrots, Cucumbers, Daikon, Green Onions

- Sliced Scallions

- Cilantro

- Soy Sauce for drizzling

 

The Prep:

Make the Chili Oil ahead of time - link to recipe above

 

Spicy Mayo Sauce:

I wanted to come up with a way to use Mayonnaise on the pizza to follow the tradition of the Banh Mi sandwich.  I didn't think spreading plain mayo on the dough and then baking it would make for an interesting "sauce".  I pictured it coming out dry and crusty which didn't seem appetizing.  As we were prepping things, I came up with an idea.  I had made up some of Peter's Chili Oil to drizzle on our pizzas and thought about using that and adding some of Mom's Soy Pickled Jalapeños that I often have laying around -- especially when you're with Mom's two daughters!  In fact, we had a fresh batch that Loan brought down from Oregon.  It turned out great!  It was moist and full of flavor.  Check out the link above to this easy recipe.  I will definitely use this on a sandwich in the near future.

 

The Pork:

We used a Char Sui Chinese BBQ Pork package to rub onto the pork loin.  Loan substituted Fish Sauce for the Soy Sauce called for on the package.  She does so, because the pork remains brighter than with the Soy Sauce.  She also adds a little Black Pepper and Garlic Salt to the mixture.

Mix the ingredients and pour over the pork.

Follow instructions on baking a Pork Loin, or whatever cut of meat you are using.  Bake the pork loin.  I tried to pull some out of the oven a little early so that it would remain moist as it finished cooking on the pizza.  We let the rest cook a little longer and served it as an appetizer with some nice mustard on the side.  The thinly sliced, moist pork cooked up perfectly on the pizza.

Pickling the Veggies

- Julienne the carrots, daikon and cucumbers into long thin slivers and place in a shallow dish.

- Sprinkle a little sugar on the veggies and a touch of salt.

- Add enough vinegar to almost cover the thin layer of veggies.  *If eating right away, using rice vinegar provides a lighter taste profile.

- Add a enough water to cover the veggies.

- Add Fish Sauce because it goes on everything.

- Allow them to sit for at least an hour.

*The rest can be stored in a sealed jar.   Loan doesn't measure, so you'll have to experiment, or look up another recipe for exact amounts.

 

The Pizza Part:

Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature, about 550 degrees, for at least an hour prior to cooking to make sure to get your pizza stone up to temperature.

Spread out your dough and cover it with the Spicy Mayo Sauce and drizzle a little of the Chili Oil over the top.

Add some of the sliced pork loin and scallions and place it in the oven.  Bake until done.

When the pizza comes out of the oven add more of the juicy bbq pork loin and top with the pickled vegetables.

Top with Cilantro and drizzle with a little soy sauce to taste.

 

This Banh Mi Pizza came out amazing.  There are many layers of flavors, textures and temperatures to experience with this pizza!  As you bite into it, you notice the cool pickled veggies and the warm crusty dough on the top and bottom of your mouth.  Then you begin to get into the warm bbq pork and spicy mayo sauce.  It's a flavor explosion!

What makes a Banh Mi Sandwich so good?  Well, I would certainly give an equal role to the warm fresh crusty French Baguette and the delicious ingredients.  A sandwich can only be memorable with a great bread.  A good sandwich filling can, in fact, be reduced to mediocre with a lousy bread.  It's the same with pizza.  A warm, delicious crusty dough topped with great ingredients will make a great pizza.  It all has to work together.

This will definitely be a pizza that I repeat and, as I write this up, I realize, I will be repeating it soon!  I'm pressuring Peter to play with this one.  I know it's one he'll love and want to see what he comes up with when he tries it.

Enjoy...

 
Spicy Oil
Brad English

 

As promised, here' the spicy oil recipe. This is a staple ingredient n our house; one that I can use for many things.  When I don't have any, I just sprinkle some chili flakes on my pizza, but the little extra time this takes to put together makes for such a better overall flavor.  The oil is spicy and flavorful without being too hot.  Instead of drizzling a little olive oil over the top of a piping hot pizza, I love to add this instead.

 

This recipe is right out of Peter's "American Pie:  My Search for the Perfect Pizza".  As with everything, once you make it a few times, you can start to wing it.  I almost always have some of Peter's Herb Oil, but by now, there's no need to go back to the recipe.  You start to understand the flavors that each ingredient provides so that you can soon make these recipes by feel.

 

For this version of the recipe I used my home made Srirachi Seasoned Salt.  I will post about that soon as well.  Regular salt works just fine as well.  I was just looking for a little something to make it my own!

 

Spicy Oil

 

- 1 cup Olive Oil

- 4 teaspoons sweet or hot paprika

- 4 teaspoons chili flakes

- 1 large clove, garlic, peeled

- 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

*This is the recipe out of "American Pie".  I don't need 1 cup of this oil so I cut it way back generally, but it also keeps forever in the refrigerator so there's no problem if you make the full batch.  You will figure it out as you get comfortable with it.  It's just about finding the balance of the ingredients as you like them.  As I said above, I also substituted for the salt with my homemade Srirachi Seasoned Salt.

 

In a saucepan, add oil, paprika, chili flakes, and garlic.

 

Bring it to a boil (yes, really!).

 

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

 

Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

 

Strain the oil and add the salt.

*I added the salt during the boil this time in the photos which worked out.  I usually

add it after per Peter's instructions.

 

Drizzle it on everything!

 

 

 
Spicy Mayo Sauce
Brad English

I have been really busy the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to post any recipes, though I have some interesting ones to share as soon as I can get them all together and posted.  I decided to post an interesting sauce that I came up with for one of these pizzas that I will share shortly.  I came up with this as I was trying to figure out an appropriate sauce for the pizza I was making.  It wouldn't work with a traditional tomato sauce and my usual go-to  special sauce - an herbed oil -- didn't seem to be appropriate.  So, I thought I would try something...

...and it turned out great!  I decided I would post this as a separate recipe in advance of the coming pizza. (aka, a "teaser"). Enjoy!!

 

 

Spicy Mayo Sauce

- Mayonnaise

- Peter's Chili Oil   *I make this all the time from Peter's book "American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza,"  *Link here

- Chopped Mom's Soy Pickled Jalapeños and Garlic

*See our homemade recipe:  *Link here

 

In a bowl, mix mayonnaise and chili oil.  I used a good amount of the chili oil so that the mayonnaise mixture won't dry out during the bake.

 

Add the chopped jalapeños and garlic, and mix everything together.

 

That's it.  It's not complicated, but I think it is iunique and delicious!  I will definitely be trying this on a sandwich in the near future (maybe with a little less oil for that).

 

*Tune in next week for a really fun and interesting pizza that we used this sauce for!

 

Enjoy!

 
Andy's Potato Pizza
Brad English

I got an email from a Pizza Quest member recently asking about pizza stones and "00" flours.  We chatted back and forth and he has enthusiastically shared one of his family's favorite pizza recipes.  It's the pizza he starts every pizza making session with.  From what he says, if he doesn't get it right "The Family" let's him know.

I'm really excited to try this pizza.  When Andy described his crust, I remembered a place my friend Holly Subhan took me to, while I was visiting her in New Jersey last year.  If you remember, she is the one who also introduced me to Mossuto's where we found the Fat Lip Pizza. *Link She's batting a thousand.  The pressure is mounting!

There's always a debate when I'm around regarding what the best pizza place is.  She had been dying to take me to this Jersey Shore favorite called Pete and Elda's in Neptune, NJ for some time.  They make a crust very similar to what Andy describes below.  It's a very thin cracker like crust.  It is light, crisp, and doesn't fill you up.  This is really, I believe, the quality that Holly loves about the pizza!   I also think she loves the atmosphere of the place.  The main part of the pizzeria is a huge winding bar that wanders through the large dining room. I can see that, even without a good pizza, this is a place I would like to hang out.  The people are friendly and, as it turns out the pizza is quite good!  I let her order her favorite the black olive and hot pepper pizza and we enjoyed a few beers and conversation with some of the locals.  If you are ever in the area I recommend you check this place out.

Now onto the Andy's Potato Pizza...I can't wait to try it!

 

I asked Andy to give me a brief introduction to his obvious pizza obsession.  He said it all started in 1983 when he was helping a friend make some wine.  As the morning wore on, his friend said, "This is taking longer than we thought so you'll have to stay for lunch, I'm making pizza".  He remembers panicking, looking at the windows for a way out of the basement!  The idea of a homemade pizza had him looking for excuses to escape.  They made the pizza on unglazed quarry tiles in a hot oven and, at the moment he took a bite, he was hooked.  His friend referenced Ada Boni's book, Italian Regional Cooking, which now gave him some great recipes to work with as he began feeding his new obsession.  He said that things remained essentially the same till 2003, when "I discovered Peter Reinhart's book, American Pie.  This was an unbelievable source of information and inspiration.  Now the knowledge base has expanded again with Pizza Quest, all limits have been removed."

How great is that?!  I have a similar story and the birth of Pizza Quest does too.  I too found Peter's book American Pie and then contacted him and a while later Pizza Quest was born.

Here is his recipe for Pizza Romana or, as his family

 
The Veggie Omelette Pizza
Brad English

Here we are at the end of my "in depth" study of eggs and pizza -- a 3 pizza egg-sperimentation.  This will surely not be the last pizza I make with eggs as there are an infinite number of possibilities to explore using this ingredient on pizza.  The immediate connection is breakfast, which pizza fits right into, performing as the toast that accompanies any good breakfast -- helping to serve a delicious egg sandwich of sorts.  Eggs can fit anywhere on a menu.  They are delicious with any meal because they bring such a unique texture into the experience of eating.  Eggs take on accompanying flavors that are more powerful, or distinct and mellow them, or blend them with each other creating a new flavor and texture.

I was recently sent to a sushi restaurant called Sakagura in New York City by a friend of mine I call "The Foodie of all Foodies " and came across a cold soup called Onsen Tamago.  This was a new experience for me, playing with my concept of flavors, textures and temperature!  Onsen Tomago is a cold soup with soft boiled egg, sea urchin roe and salmon roe.  If you're squeamish, this soup is not for you!  It was one of the more unique dishes I have ever had.  I am a huge fan of sea urchin, though, so I was down with it.  Many people can't get past the texture of this, but the flavor is so delicious and balanced that I feel sorry for those who can't get past the soft, cool pudding-like texture.  The soup base was salty and delicious.  The soft boiled egg fascinated me beyond the silky texture, but the fact that it was so softly boiled and then cooled and perfectly extracted from the shell into the soup.  When I ate the soup, the egg yolk broke and became not only another part of the texture of the soup, but also a new flavor as it mixed with the stock and ingredients.  This cool creamy soup was accented by the delicious fresh uni (sea urchin) and then I came across the cool little jelly pops of the salmon row.  It was really a unique eye opening dish.

Although I've taken a side trip here, my point is that anything you like can be enhanced with eggs. They have a uniqueness to them that isn't shared by many foods.  They transform so much from their natural state to a finished product, and can be served in so many stages along the way in their cooking process.  I started my pizza recipe eggs-ploration with a nod to the classic American breakfast standard of bacon and eggs.  That one is simple.  It's everything you like about that breakfast and has so many of the elements of a so many pizzas we all eat on a regular basis.  My next eggs-ecution was about the jalapeño and egg combination.  Again, this is my breakfast of champions.  My third in this series is about yet another standard variety of breakfast fare:  The Veggie Omlette.

I hope you enjoy any or all of these, and certainly use them just as starting points and come up with your own favorites.

 

The Veggie Omelette Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

-I used my favorite Central Milling Germania Flour based Signature Bruery Pizza Dough but use your own favorite dough recipe

Peter's Herb Oil

Partially sautéed thinly sliced vegetables:  Zuccini, Red Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms and Jalapeños

-I sautéed the veggies to get them started cooking before going onto the pizza.  Season with a little salt and pepper and sauté until just cooked - allowing room for them to finish cooking on the pizza, but getting out much of the moisture so they don't soak your pizza.

Grated Mozzerella

Chunks of Bel Gioioso's Italico Cheese

2 Eggs

Canned Chopped Green Chiles to top the baked pizza

 

The Build:

Spread the dough on a well floured peel.

Sprinkle a little of the Herb Oil on the dough.

Add the grated Mozz and pinch off chunks of the Italico Cheese.  I didn't want this to be all about the cheese, so I used both sparingly.

Add the sautéed veggies.

I wanted to make sure that I got runny, sunny side up eggs on this pizza, so, I decided to set this pizza in the oven and pre-bake it for a couple of minutes and then add the egg and put it back in to finish.

 

The Bake:

Bake in your oven for approximately 2-3 minutes until it sets up so that you can pull it out without it falling apart.

*Make sure you pre-heat the oven for at least an hour to get your pizza stone up to temperature.  I pre-heat at 550 degrees and then turn it to Convection Bake before loading my first pizza, which lowers the temp to 525 degrees.

Pull the pizza out and crack two fresh eggs over the top.

Back into the oven.  Bake until the eggs and crust and all the ingredients are just right.  This should be about 4-5 minutes more.  For egg pizzas, base the doneness on the eggs.  If you want the crust done more, you may have to sacrifice that to make sure you don't overcook your eggs.  I have played with this and as you can see from my pictures, this pre-bake and finishing bake seems to work well.  Each oven will vary, so don't be surprised if you have to figure out your own timing.

The eggs came out great on this one.  You can see the crust has some charring and darkness to the edges and the toppings got a little brown on the edges as well.  The egg is perfectly cooked!  The yolk is soft and ready to be spread across the pizza and become part of the overall sauce.  You can probably pull the pizza out a little early, because the egg will continue to cook after it's out of the oven.  (*See my Bacon and Eggs Pizza!)

Carefully spread the yolk around trying not to move all the ingredients away from the center as you do.  You'll find that you can move things back and forth once you break the yolk and start spreading it out so that you keep the ingredients balanced for each bite.

Finally, top the finished pizza with the chopped green chills, or your favorite salsa.

Cut and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

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