Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pizza--a whole new spin (Part 2)

Photo from Wikipedia

Yesterday I told you about Rebar, an imaginative, innovative restaurant in Victoria, B.C. Another pizza they have devised is equally amazing. The name "pizza verde" means green pizza. Green pizza? Really? No, this isn't a Dr. Seuss tale. It's a southwestern-flavored pizza with green tomatillo sauce.

Pizza Verde
1 pound pizza dough
2 tablespoons cornmeal
tomatillo-cilantro salsa (see below)
1 lb. oyster mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
balsamic vinegar
6 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced (see below)
2 bulbs roasted garlic (see below)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups grated Jack cheese
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Place the dough on an oiled 15-inch pizza pan that has been dusted with cornmeal.

Separate the oyster mushrooms from the main stem and slice the larger ones in half. Heat olive oil in a skillet; add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute several minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the mushrooms are golden. Deglaze the pan with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cook until it evaporates and then set the mushrooms aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Paint the pizza dough with tomatillo salsa to cover the surface; sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with mushrooms, roasted garlic, chile slices and tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. and bake the pizza on the bottom rack for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and cheese melted. Serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled over top.

Tomatillo-cilantro salsa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
24 oz can tomatillos, drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Heat olive in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic, salt, and chilies and saute until the garlic is lightly golden. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Prepare the remaining ingredients and combine them in the bowl of a food processor along with the cooled onion mixture. Pulse to desired consistency. Season to taste and served within 3 days.

Roasted Peppers
4 sweet peppers (or chiles)

There are 3 ways to roast peppers, depending on your equipment--a brabecue, gas stove, or regular oven. On the flame of a barbecue or gas stove roast the peppers whole until the skins are charred and blistered, using a set of tongs to turn the peppers over to expose all surfaces. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Remove wrap, cool slightly, and peel away the seared skins.

Alternatively, to oven roast, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve and seed the peppers. Place them cut-side down on an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the skins puff up and blister (about 15 minutes). Proceed as with flame-roasted peppers.

Whole roasted garlic
2 garlic bulbs
2 tsp. olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, slide the top off the garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the garlic flesh. Center each bulb on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and spinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the bulbs securely and pop them into the oven.

After 45 minutes you should start to smell the sweet roasting aroma, but depending on the size of your bulb, it may need a bit more time. Test by slipping the sharp point of a paring knife into one of the cloves. If it slides in effortlessly, or the bulbs are starting to poke out of their skins, then the garlic is ready to serve.

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