If you know me, you know I love Tri-Tip or Santa Maria steak and, chances are, you've probably had it a few dozen times off of my grill. The Tri-Tip cut is mainly a West Coast thing. It's certainly my thing. As I understand, it used to be a cut of meat that was mainly used to be ground up for hamburger, or used for stew meat. One day back in the late '50's, at a Safeway Supermarket in Santa Maria, CA, the meat manager decided to throw this whole cut of meat onto the rotisserie with some salt, pepper and garlic salt. The butcher commented that he was wasting his time, that this meat would be too tough to chew. Instead, after about an hour, what they discovered was something new. This left-over section of beef, shaped like a triangle (Tri-Tip), turned out to have a whole new texture and flavor profile. Here's a link to a couple sites for more information on cooking and the history of Santa Maria Tri-Tip.
The first is a great article by Russ Parsons of the LA Times. I had been using this recipe for some time before I had the chance to meet Russ while filming at Pizzeria Mozza (check out our Pizzeria Mozza webisodes to see his conversion to loving Nancy Silverton's Hawaiian Pizza, something he thought could never happen). At the time, I didn't even know Russ wrote this article. One day, I looked at my folded, faded cut-out newspaper article and noticed Russ' name. Needless to say, I was that much happier having met him - now realizing I was already a huge fan!
Here's another link with a little history about how the cut came to be:
Now, I'm not saying these guys are going to be written up in the history books for this, but they are in my history notes. There are some great websites out there discussing how to cook a Tri-Tip and I have used it many times to create pizzas. And, if you like Cheese Steak Sandwiches like I do, then how could you not like a Cheese Steak Pizza? I can still remember the first time I had a Cheese Steak while I was working one summer for my uncle's moving company. We pulled into a nondescript strip mall and
I followed the guys into a little sandwich shop and had what would become one of those discovery moments that stays with you forever. What's not to like? There's cheese, steak, dough and anything else you want to add to make your sandwich or pizza unique. I'm a big fan of onions, peppers, mushrooms and even jalapenos on mine. Sandwiches pizzas are perfect places to bring these ingredients all together.
I had a can of DiNapoli Simply Red Whole Peeled California Tomatoes, courtesy of our friend Rob DiNapoli, that I couldn't wait to try. I knew I had some left over Tri-Tip handy. I had onions and I had peppers. I always have some Mom's Pickled Jalapeños, which I posted about last year (see the Instructionals section). Needless to say, I knew what I was going to make.
Left-Over Santa Maria Tri-Tip Pizza
Peter's Classic Dough *See recipe in our Instructional Section
Simply Red Tomatoes turned into Peter's Crushed Tomato Sauce
(*Any quality canned tomato will work, as Simply Red is not available to the general public)
Sliced and Sauteed Onions and Yellow Peppers
Sliced left over Tri Tip Steak
*Cut or tear into bite sized pieces
Chopped "Mom's Soy Pickled Jalapeños" *See recipe in our Instructional Section
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've heard that perfection is not possible, but this may be an exception.
Let's get to work:
Build the pizza by placing the tomato sauce on the dough.
Add the mixture of grated Mozzerella and Provolone
*I used about 3/4 Mozzarella and 1/4 Provolone
Add the sliced Tri-Tip Steak
Add sautéed onions and peppers
Place the pizza into a pre-heated (550 Degree) oven on your pizza stone. If you have it, switch the oven over to Convection Bake.
Check the pizza in about 7 Minutes. When it's done, remove it.
(I got some nice charring across this pizza in my home oven. )
Add the chopped jalapeños, to your taste.
You could grate some Grano Padano or Parmesan Cheese over the top if you like. My Tri-Tip was already seasoned when I cooked it with salt, pepper and chopped garlic, so there was no need for more salt, or pepper.
Slice the pizza and dig in.
How's that for using left overs?