Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pizza with Chorizo and Dandelion Greens


These two pizzas, one with chorizo and dandelion greens and the other with a cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto and tomatoes, are inspired by Mexican cuisine but there are a few twists drawn from other spots around the globe. I have used Spanish style chorizo rather than crumbly Mexican style, simply because I prefer the Spanish version and it is more widely available in Montreal.

A crispy pizza crust is the only one worth eating. I would rather starve then eat thick, soggy crust. For this pizza, I have topped humongous Lebanese pita bread and cooked it directly on the oven rack at a high temperature to achieve a cracker-thin base.

Oaxaca cheese can be bought at Chipotle and Jalapeno restaurant on Rue Amherst in Montreal, which has a small Mexican market upstairs. They also carry some harder to find ingredients, such as annatto/achiote, brown chipotles, Mexican oregano and dried hibiscus flowers. Mozzarella is a perfectly acceptable substitute if Oaxaca is not available in your area.

Ingredients
125 grams hot Spanish chorizo, sliced
Splash of extra-virgin olive oil
1-12 inch diameter whole wheat pita
4 spring onions, cut in half lengthwise and then in fourths
1 large handful of dandelion greens, roughly chopped
4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium. Cook the chorizo until the edges are charred slightly. Turn off heat. Drain the chorizo and set aside.

Evenly spread the onions and greens over the pita. Top evenly with the chorizo and grated cheese. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Carefully place the topped pita directly on the oven rack. Cook for 8 minutes.


Pizza with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Tomatoes

¼ cup shelled, unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds
1 large bunch of cilantro, stems included
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fat pinch of sea salt
1-12 inch whole wheat pita
4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees.

Pulse the first five ingredients in a mini chopper or food processor to make the pesto. Spread the pesto evenly over the pita. Top with cheese and the sliced tomatoes. Crack a bit of salt and black pepper over the top.

Carefully place the topped pita directly on the oven rack. Cook for 8 minutes.

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