Written Recipes
Jalapeño & Sunny Eggs Pizza
Brad English

Eggs-perimentation - Numero Dos:

I love Eggs on a pizza.  They are a perfect topping being both a topping and possibly becoming part of the sauce of the pizza.  If you time it right, you can get the egg to cook to that perfect Sunny Side Up - runny deliciousness.  After the pizza comes out, you simply take a fork and knife, or a spoon and break the yolk and spread it around the pizza.  The egg is now playing two roles, both of which work perfectly on a pizza. But I've already told you this the last time I posted, and then Peter reiterated it in his recent blog about Pure Pizza in Charlotte.

So this is the second pizza in my latest little pizza experimentation here at Casa Ingles (as we affectionately call it)!  The fun thing about making pizza, as I've written before, is that there is a lot of opportunity for creativity.  Unlike when cooking other things, you get to try a number versions every time you make pizza.  They bake quickly and you are generally making at least 4 different pizzas during a meal.  It would get costly if you cooked up 4 large steaks every time you had that as a main dish, using seasonings and different cooking techniques.  I suppose you could cut a steak into smaller portions and do that, but that has it's own set of downfalls.  My point (and I do have one) is that pizza is a naturally interactive food during planning, prep, and eating.

You can lay out a plan and easily find a new path to the perfect pizza that you are hoping to make. I often only plan out a couple of the pizzas I'm going to make and then let the others come out of something I see while I'm shopping, or something that may be in the house at the time.  It's those found ingredients that sometimes take a pizza to the next level.  This pizza came out of the idea of using Jalapeños.  I am fascinated with the idea of pre-cooking them, which knocks out some of the heat and leaves you with a bold flavorful ingredient with enough spice to make them stand out, but not too much for those who can't take a lot of heat.

 

Jalapeño & Sunny-Eggs Pizza de Casa Ingles

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

-I used my favorite Central Milling Germania Flour, Signature Bruery Pizza Dough but you can use your own favorite dough

Peter's Herb Oil

Partially baked thinly sliced potato

Sautéed Mushrooms, Zucchini, and Jalapeños

-I sautéed these 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.

Bel Gioioso Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese (or other blue cheese)

2 Eggs

Chopped Scallions

Fresh Rosemary Needles

Grated Parmesan

 

The Build:

Spread the dough on a well floured peel.

Sprinkle a little of the Herb Oil on the dough.

Add the potatoes, zucchini and mushrooms.

Break off chunks of the creamy gorgonzola cheese.  Alternatively, you could use another soft cheese, like a brie mixed with a little blue cheese.  I didn't use much cheese here.  First of all this cheese is very flavorful and I didn't want it to take over.  Second, I wanted the sautéed vegetables and the egg to play a bigger role.

I wanted to make sure that I achieved runny sunny-side Up eggs on this pizza.  So, I decided to set this pizza in the oven and bake it for a couple of minutes and then add the egg.

 

The Bake:

Bake in your oven for approximately 2-3 minutes.

*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.

 

Add the sautéed jalapeños.

Place it back into the oven.  Bake until the eggs and crust and all the ingredients are just right.  This should be about 4-5 minutes.  For this pizza, base the doneness on the eggs.

The eggs came out perfect on this one.  You can see that my 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.

 

 

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 scallions and some grated Parmesan.

Enjoy!  And do send us some ideas of your own...

 

 

 
Bacon and Eggs Pizza
Brad English

 

Eggs

 

The first time I had egg on a pizza was at a little French Creperie in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  My family was visiting me while I was working up there, and we took a weekend trip over to the island.  One morning we went to this little place I read about known for having a good cappuccino.  When I saw that there was a pizza with eggs, I had to try it.  I don't know about you, but when I am eating eggs, toast is the primary delivery system for getting those eggs with the sauce, bacon, sausage, etc. up to my mouth.  Why wouldn't a pizza with the egg breakfast already arranged on it be the perfect meal?

 

That first egg pizza was a scrambled egg version with some Tyrolean bacon, chives and a little cheese mixed in.  It was truly delicious.  The eggs were still moist.  It was cheesy and the bacon, I found out, was painstakingly chosen over many others based on how it performed on the pizza.  I would have to say it was an epiphany moment for me.

A few years later, while we were filming the original Pizza Quest road trip, we were in San Francisco at Pizzeria Delfina and these guys opened my eyes a little wider.  They made a pizza and finished it off by simply cracking an egg on top.  It came out sunny side up.  Craig Stoll, the owner, cut up the yolk with a fork and knife, spreading it around the top of the pizza.  Egg epiphany numero dos!  I love the runny yolk dripping off of my "toast."  It's a wonderful textural eating experience.  The yolk is, in effect, both the meal and a sauce.

 

Fast forward to now: I was in the mood for some runny yolk and pizza.  So I decided to have a Pizza Egg Fest!   I'll release these in three short recipe pictorials.  They all came out delicious and made a fantastic breakfast the next day.

The first was inspired by Nancy Silverton at Pizzeria Mozza, and it has egg, bacon, Yukon Gold

 
How do you re-heat your pizza?
Brad English

 

A Second Transformation - How do you reheat your pizza?

One morning recently I woke up thinking of making my second favorite pizza: Left-Over Pizza.  I often eat these babies cold, right out of the fridge -- there's just something I really like about a cold slice of pizza.  This is a great grab and go breakfast, washed down by a hot cup of coffee as I drive to work.  Ideally though, if there's time, I'll reheat my pizzas.

I thought about writing about my reheating process because of a recent incident.  I was working with a fellow pizza nut.  I had ordered some pizza from a new place in LA and sent a box up to her office.  I was out prepping a job and when I asked her later how the pizza was, she told me that her assistant had re-heated the pizza in the microwave and she wouldn't eat it.  I loved that, as I feel the same way.  Microwaves are great for soup and left-over Mexican food, but not pizza.  The dough is totally turned into something else -- a hot, tough-chewy sort of space dough, or cardboard type of thing.  Not good.

Over the years, I can't say when, I developed my pizza re-heating routine.  It's not complicated, but I think it's worth a post.  I hope we'll get some feedback and some new secret tricks from you as well.

My secret: I broil my left-over wedges.

It's not as fast as the microwave would be to bring it up to temperature, but it also doesn't destroy what was once a good slice of pizza.  I would even go so far as to say that it may breathe another bit of life into the pizza.  It transforms it to something similar, but adds another aspect of handling, or cooking to it -- a short high intensity exposure to heat creating a crisp and bubbly hot slice.

 

Start the broiler.

I use the top rack.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Place the pizza slices on the foil top down (cheese side down - crust up).  Sometimes toppings may come off, but you can grab them when you flip the pizza and place them back where they belong.

You have to pay attention here.  The broiler is hot and we're way up top on the upper rack and you will burn the pizza if you get distracted.  The trick is to find that perfect moment to flip the pizza.  You want to see the crust bottom turning brown.  You may see moisture bubbling loose from the crust.  You may let a little of it actually char.  Be careful, it will turn brown and then go black (too far gone!) rather quickly, so pay attention.  It is a matter of personal choice how far you take this.  Think of it as dialing in your crust.

Pull the rack out a little, or reach in with long tongs and flip your slices.  Pick up any fallen toppings and place back on the pizza.  Again, watch closely.  I'm looking to get things bubbling and turning a little brown.  You can decide how far to take this. Again, a little char here is good, as long as you don't over-brown everything along the way.

Take the slices out as soon as you think they are done - maybe a few seconds before you think they're done!

What you get with this method, in my opinion, is a new slice of pizza.  It's not the same as the original because you have transformed it a little, or a lot depending on how far you take it.  The crust is crisper than the original, but it's still tasty and crunchy and feels like bread should.  It's still a nice pizza dough.  The toppings are melty, caramelized, and slightly more melded to each other than the time the pie first came to life.

Delicious in my opinion!

I know Peter has another method and I want him to share that here as well.  He said that it's the same idea focusing on bringing the pizza back to life, or giving it another life although slightly transformed from the original. (See his note at the end of this post.)

One last thing on this.  I was just in NY again and took a train out to Di Fara's Pizza in Brooklyn.  Let me first say, this was well worth the trip and the wait, as Dom DeMarco made one pizza at a time for a long list of customers.  Afterward, I spoke with Peter to tell him about the pizza and he said he heard a secret to experiencing these pies.  The "secret" was that if you order a slice, they will re-heat it and that second time in the oven really brings it all together.  Can I rest my case here?!  I didn't try this at Di Fara, but I can now imagine what this secret is all about.

Let us know if you have any other secrets, or procedures in re-heating your pizza.

Note from Peter: Okay, here's my variation on Brad's excellent method:  use a non-stick frying pan and heat it up over a medium hot burner. Mist it lightly with olive oil pan spray or rub it with olive oil and place the slice (or slices), cheese and sauce side up, into the pan and put a heavy pan or pot or weight on it to press it into the pan (or press it down with your hand or a Teflon spatula or burger flipper). As soon as the bottom of the crust gets piping hot -- about 30 to 60 seconds-- flip the slice over, cheese side down, and again press it into the pan until the cheese melts, about 30 to 60 seconds. Use the spatula (or Teflon burger flipper) to get under the cheese and transfer the slice, right side up, to your plate where a hot, cheesy slice awaits you for breakfast or any time of the day or night.

 

 

 

 
Roasted Seasoned Eggplant Pizza
Brad English

I remember standing in line late one night, or rather early one morning on New Years Eve, down in Hermosa Beach at one of our favorite local NY Style Pizza by the slice establishments called Paisanos.  I always used to joke with my wife and friends when one of the owners would call out to someone "Hey Paisano!"  I would say, "I thought I was Paisano!"  When they showed up a few years back, when I was a younger man, I would more often than not find myself wandering by, looking for a slice or two after being out for the night...if you know what I mean.   It was nice to have the added ambiance in this NY Style pizzeria here only a block off the beach in Southern California that came with a cast of NY Paisanos who felt at home barking out their indignant proclamations with their freshly imported NY Style attitudes. On this fateful New Years morning I placed my order for my favorite pizza -- their Roasted Eggplant and Sliced Tomato Pie.

Well, it turned out to be the LAST pizza of the night. (I already mentioned that it was late!)  I think we alll know how good a late night slice of pizza can taste.  Now imagine it's the last late night pizza available and there's a line out the door behind you.  My small group of friends formed a wedge as we moved out the door and ran for our lives to catch a cab home!

Yes, that last pizza of the night did hit the spot!  Perhaps this why I love eggplant on pizza so much.  I loved it before this, but since then, there is a more solid connection with the triumphant memory of being the "one" who won the lottery that night with this simple ingredient.  I was recently in our forum looking around and found a discussion where eggplant came up.  It hit me like a ton of bricks!  I couldn't believe I had I waited so long to play with this ingredient in my pizza making at home.  My Paisano memories came flooding back and I knew I had to pick up some eggplant!

To the kitchen!

Roasted Seasoned Eggplant Pizza


Pizza Quest Signature Beer Dough *LINK
Simply Red Tomatoes turned into Peter's Crushed Tomato Sauce
*Any quality canned tomato will work *LINK
Fresh Mozzarella *I used Bel Gioioso's
1 Japanese Eggplant sliced about 1/4" thick
Sliced Tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil

*You can/should also add grated Parmesan cheese and Red Chilli flakes at the end.


Peter's Crushed Tomato Sauce is a perfect pizza sauce. Once you make it a few times following his recipe, you can start to do it on your own, just adding what feels right.  This is so simple and tastes so fresh I really don't see any reason to do anything else when I'm using a tomato sauce.  When I first tried it after reading Peter's book, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, I literally thought, "This is it! This is the perfect pizza sauce."  Now I know perfect is not possible, but this may be an exception.


Roast the Eggplant:

Get your oven going early, to Pre-Heat your pizza stone to the highest temperature, for at least an hour before cooking your pizzas.  I threw the eggplant into the oven while it was heating up to pre-roast it.

Peel the skin off the eggplant and slice into 1/4" slices.
In a bowl mix the slices with Bread Crumbs and add in some herbs and spices to give them that special touch.  I poured a little Olive Oil and then added some Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and actually a little Cayenne because I'm insane.  You'll see I didn't overdo it in the photos. 

I pre-roasted them until browned, pulling them out of the oven in time to allow them to finish up on the pizza (but they do need to soft when you pull them out).  I didn't time this, but think it was about 20 minutes as my oven was already hot.  Check it after 10, 15 etc.


The Prep and Build:

Build the pizza by placing the Crushed Tomato Sauce on the dough.

I added a swirl of Olive Oil to the sauce

Add pinches of the fresh Mozzaarella

Add the Roasted Eggplant

Add sliced/chopped basil after the bake.

Add the sliced tomatoes (Play with the thickness of the tomatoes to affect how much moisture they will hold after baking, but a scant 1/4" thick is probably ideal).


Bake:

Place pizza into the oven.  If you have it, switch the oven over to Convection Bake, which seems to give me a better bake. 

Check the pizza in about 7 Minutes.  When it's done, remove it.

This pizza came out beautifully.  I used a thicker cut on my tomatoes, so the overall pizza, was initially "wet".  But, as it cooled, it settled down.  I added the basil, sliced it up and remembered a simpler time, before kids, late one evening, walking down the street with some friends and a piping hot Roasted Eggplant Pizza from Paisanos.

(*The cayenne was interesting.  Play with the seasoning on the eggplant, it's a great vehicle for flavor.  With the bread crumbs and pre-roasting you also get a little crunchy texture going on after the final bake and even some charred crispy bits.)

Give this a try and send us your own versions with photos and a story!


Enjoy!

 

 
A Simple Salami Pizza
Brad English

Sometimes you just want comfort food.  This pizza is comfortable and comforting.  This is a pizza that will warm the cockles of your heart.  There isn't much fanciness about it.  This version isn't what we'd call artisan, or pushing the limits of artisanship anywhere.  It's just good.  It's just sauce, cheese and salami. 

You can, of course, make this fancier.  You can go down to the deli, or your fancy gourmet market and get yourself a funky cool salami with some wild name and it will likely be even better yet.  I would make this with sopressata, speck, a specialty salami, or any artisanal hand crafted salted pork product I can find and each unique product will definitely give this pizza it's own unique expression of what is possible by bringing quality ingredients together and making something bigger than the whole of the parts.

That day I was in the mood for comfort and I was home and didn't want to go shopping.  I had the dough, cheese, tomatoes and some basic sandwich salami -- in a bag.  This salami is meant to process sandwiches for hungry kids and families on the go. It's perfect for a last minute party platter if such an occasion arrises.  Though it's in a bag it's still good!  In my opinion salted/cured pork is by it's nature simply good.

Have you ever seen the Simpson's episode called "Lisa the Vegetarian"?  Homer explains the specialness of pork here better than anyone.  Lisa declares that she is no longer able to eat meat after a visit to a farm where she got to pet some of the little cuddly animals. Here's the "meat" of the conversation (pun intended)…where Homer continues in shock:

Homer:  Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!  Lisa, honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again?  What about bacon?

Lisa:  No

Homer:  Ham?

Lisa:  No.

Homer:  Pork chops?

Lisa:  Dad!  Those all come from the same animal!

Homer:  [Laughing] Yeah, right Lisa.  A wonderful, "maaaagical" animal! [Laughing]


For the record...I am not saying anything negative here about vegetarians! I love vegetarian pizzas as well.  It's just a shame they don't get to eat this magical animal in all of it's forms - especially the salted/cured ones and the slow barbecued, roasted, or grilled ones! 

Okay, moving on before I bury myself here and alienate half of our readers...



Simple Salami Pizza


Pizza Quest Signature Beer Dough *LINK
Simply Red Tomatoes turned into Peter's Crushed Tomato Sauce *LINK
(*Any good quality canned tomato will work)
Olive Oil
Grated Mozzarella
Sliced Salami
Red Chili Flakes


*Peter's Crushed Tomato Sauce is a perfect pizza sauce. Once you make it a few times following his recipe, you can start to do it on your own, just adding what feels right.  This is so simple and tastes so fresh I really don't see any reason to do anything else when I'm using a tomato sauce.  When I first tried it after reading Peter's book, "American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza," I literally thought, "This is it! This is the perfect pizza sauce."  Now I know perfect is not possible, but this may be an exception.


The Prep and Build:

Build the pizza by placing the Crushed Tomato Sauce on the dough.

I added a swirl of Olive Oil to the sauce

Add grated Mozzarella

Add Salami, sliced thin -- your favorite kind, but Genoa is pretty hard to beat

Place pizza into the oven.  If you have it, switch the oven over to Convection Bake, which seems to give me a better bake. 

Check the pizza in about 7 Minutes.  When it's done, remove it. I'm looking for charring on the salami and crust.  I love the little burnt bits and tips of the ingredients and dough!

Hellllo --  look at this!!  I typically don't have an idea of what I want to write when I make pizzas for this site.  I have an idea of what I want to eat, or explore, and when I come back and pull up the photos and think about the pizza I just see how the combination of my notes, photos and memory come together.  For this pizza, my first thought was Comfort Food, simple and fine, perfect for drop in guests (at least the meat eating ones)!  Thanks for stopping by for a visit...

Give this a try and send us your own versions with photos and a story!



Enjoy!

 

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