06 February 2008

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

Pizza di Gamberi alla Scampi
Shrimp Scampi Pizza (with title)
Today is Ash Wednesday, or as Tina Fey described it, "the day when Catholics creep out their co-workers." Which kind of made me chuckle, because 1) it is Tina Fey, and 2) the only real-life point of reference I have consists of people going, "Oh, crap! I forgot it's Ash Wednesday!" (paraphrased) It's a little unnerving to think about what it would be like to suddenly become the minority, and freaky that I will soon find out for real. For no reason, I researched how many Jewish people there were in the Philippines, since I knew none personally, and it turns out there are at the most 500, and probably none in my age bracket (I got to read a few touching/sad stories in the process), and only one synagogue (Temple Emil in Manila). You really take for granted being understood (by default), but it's the differences that make life exciting and learning possible.
Shrimp Scampi Pizza (close-up)
What does that have to do with a shrimp scampi pizza? Nothing, except for the fasting and abstinence that we (usually) practice this season of Lent. Though I think that to serve such an honestly delicious pizza would be missing the point, ha ha ha. Obviously I made this the same day as the maple-glazed pumpkin and blue cheese pizza, and I chose this flavor because it's one of my father's favorites at California Pizza Kitchen, and also one of the more expensive ones on the menu. Once again the toppings aren't traditional, except in the sense that it is a California-n pizza, where the only rule is there are no rules (please do not kill me for breaking out that annoying cliché, it really is appropriate in this case). On the other hand, true Neapolitan pizza has only fresh yeast, no oil, and must use a wood-burning oven, among other rules. Yeah. Not in this lifetime.

Follow the pizza link above for the recipe I used for the dough. I still used a 350g dough ball stretched into a 12-inch, er, oval. Again, make sure you have all the ingredients ready before dressing the pizza-- you should only take a minute at most to dress it before it goes in the oven.

Garlic Shallot Butter

  • 70g (5 tbsp) butter

  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (I used 1 small onion or 70g)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (I used fresh)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • pinch white pepper

  • 80mL (1/3 cup) Chardonnay (I used dry white wine)

  • 15mL (1 tbsp) lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon chicken broth base or bouillon cube

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon (14g) of the butter. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and cook for a minute. Add the salt, white pepper, Chardonnay, and lemon juice, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Once cool, this butter freezes well in an airight container (thaw before using).

Roasted Garlic
  • 1 head garlic, coarseley chopped

  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Spread the garlic in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown. Scrape up the garlic, redistribute it in the pan, and continue roasting for another 10 minutes or until light golden.

Shrimp Scampi Pizza
  • 100g (1-1/2 cups) mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded

  • 1 small onion, preferably white, sliced into 1/8" thick rings

  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half lengthwise/ sagittally

  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano

  • small handful Italian parsley, chopped

Place a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 260°C (500°F) for at least 15 minutes. Stretch the dough on your pizza peel (that has been liberally dusted with cornmeal) to a 12-inch round with a slightly raised rim. Spread the garlic shallot butter over the surface within the rim. Scatter the mozzarella over the butter. Evenly distribute the onions, garlic, and shrimp. Transfer to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 220°C (425°F). Bake until the crust is golden, the shrimp is completely opaque, and the cheese at the center is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Take out the oven and sprinkle the oregano and parsley over.

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