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An Amazing Smoked Albacore Pizza

Written By Peter Reinhart
Thursday, 14 July 2011 Webisodes

Okay, so we picked up our smoked albacore at Ruddell’s Smoke House and now what?  Time to make a pizza, of course. Chef Jensen is an inventive cook and has a great eye for presentation as well as a firm grasp on how to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  And I’m big on the use of acidity — this time in the form of both hot an cold heirloom tomatoes as well as Ruddell’s “secret sauce” — to make things pop so, between the two of us, I think we came up with an amazing pizza (but it was really mostly Jensen — I just got to go along for the ride and throw in a few comments).

The use of the finishing “secret sauce,” provided by Jim Ruddell himself, is the final key to tying all these great ingredients together. It was, as far as we could tell, a sort of lemon aioli, like an olive oil mayonnaise with extra lemon if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of making aioli from scratch; we’re not sure how Jim made his but it was good! The sauce, whether this one or any number of other “secret sauces” that all fish taco shacks have in their arsenal (as does any great hoagie shop), causes every ingredient to seemingly explode and give up its full potential of flavor. I mean, when you fold a slice of pizza around these ingredients there really is very little difference between a pizza – a sandwich – or a taco, which is exactly the point I’ve been making for years: pizza is just dough with something on it and it exists in every culture, in many variations, and under a variety of names. Dough with something on it, when the dough is killer and the something on it explodes with flavor, it works every time no matter what you call it.

So, our goal was to create a sort of fish taco pizza and, in one of my favorite moments in this video, you can tell how well we did by looking closely at Jensen’s wife, Grace, and the subtle look on her face when she takes her first bite — priceless!!

The Cass House Signature Central Coast Pizza with locally smoked Albacore!


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Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter’s Books

American Pie
Artisan Breads Every Day
The Bread Bakers Apprentice
Brother Junipers Bread Book
Crust and Crumb
Whole Grain Breads

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