Monday, July 26, 2010

Fava Bean and Prosciutto Pizza with Feta and Mint

Here's another delicious idea for your best-ever, overnight whole wheat pizza dough. The credit for this idea of building a pizza around a pound of fresh fava beans goes to my brilliant other half. With it, we added prosciutto and caramelized onions--two ingredients that cannot fail to deliver incredible pizza--and topped it off with feta and mint.

If you don't have fava beans (check for frozen too), you can use regular peas. If you don't do mint, use basil. And goat cheese would be wonderful too. This pizza doesn't have a traditional sauce base, although the onion adds moisture. We drizzled the finished pizza with a little olive oil, as well. A layer of ricotta cheese, seasoned with herbs and thinned slightly with milk might be a nice replacement for tomato sauce. It's pizza, so creativity is a given. In fact, it's hardly a recipe, so here's how we did it, written up shorthand style.
Fava Bean and Prosciutto Pizza with Feta and Mint
To blanch beans, remove from pods and boil 1 to 2 minutes (use full 2 minutes if very large); drain and rinse with cold water; peel. To caramelize the onion, heat 2 Tbs olive oil on low to medium low, add onions, salt and pepper to taste and cook 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

1 ball overnight whole wheat pizza dough, at room temp (1/2 recipe)
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces
1 large red onion, sliced and caramelized
1 lb (in the pod) fresh fava beans, blanched and peeled
3 oz (approx.) feta cheese, crumbled
chopped fresh mint
extra-virgin olive oil for serving

Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 550 F at least 30 minutes. Prepare dough as directed. Top with prosciutto, onion, fava beans and feta in the order listed. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook 9 to 10 minutes or until crust is browned. Top with mint and serve, passing olive oil at the table.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Korean Chicken Marinade and Grilled Bok Choy

I've been back from vacation for almost a week, and I'm still catching up on things. Like blogging. But I couldn't forget to post this awesome Korean-style marinade and my very favorite bok choy recipe.

We've never been big on marinating until this summer. I have some favorites, but otherwise it's taken a while for me to realize that the easy extra step of marinating can be so worth it. While it's uncertain that a marinade will actually make your meat moist, a soak in some tasty liquid will definitely add flavor to the food's surface and help protect you from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) that form when meat gets charred on a hot grill.

You may remember the marinated Jerk Chicken that we loved a couple months ago. Mike and I almost didn't try this Korean version from the same Food & Wine article because we just wanted to repeat the jerk marinade. Luckily, we took a trip to the Korean market and loaded up on kimchi and other goodies, so rounding out the meal with this chicken was the only way to go.

As you can see, we used bone-in chicken breasts and leg quarters with the skin removed, but I think it would be as good or better with boneless breasts pounded thin. They cook ultra fast, which helps prevent the meat from drying out, and you'll be able to taste the marinade in every bite.

As for the bok choy, it couldn't be easier. I blanched them, drained them on paper towel and gave them to Mike to put on the grill for a minute or two. I whisked together a sauce from some of the same ingredients in the marinade and drizzled it on. The little char of the grill is so nice and is a lot easier and quicker to do than browning the bok choy in a skillet.

I also have to mention our favorite free-form marinade that Mike invented. It works great on fish and the aforementioned pounded chicken breasts. Just combine about 3/4 cup orange or grapefruit juice, 2 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs soy sauce, fresh or dry herbs (especially rosemary and thyme), crushed garlic cloves and black pepper in a large zip top bag. It's enough for up to a pound of meat.

Do you marinate? Does the recent news about the health benefits motivate you, or have you been on the bandwagon for years already? What's your favorite?

Korean-Style Marinade for Chicken

Makes enough for 1 1/4 lbs boneless chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin, or 2 bone-in chicken breasts and 2 leg quarters.

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs toasted (dark) sesame oil
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs (generous) finely chopped fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper

Toasted sesame seeds for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and vinegar. Transfer to a large zip top bag and add scallions, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Add chicken and refrigerated 2 to 4 hours for boneless breast or 4 to 6 hours for bone-in pieces. Grill and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Grilled Bok Choy

Serves 4

6 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1 Tbs coarse salt
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
Toasted sesame seeds for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add bok choy, cover and return to boiling. Uncover and cook until bok choy may be easily pierced with a knife, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, then place on a couple layers of paper towel to absorb additional water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and vinegar.

Grill bok choy over moderate heat until light grill marks form, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with soy sauce mixture, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Overnight Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is my ultimate whole wheat pizza dough up to now. No doubt I'll try some other technique or recipe down the line, but this one is fantastic. It all has to do with the method, rather than some perfect combination of ingredients.

Like I said when I wrote about my tapas-inspired Sherry Mushroom Pizza (pictured above), the overnight rise and shaping method make a light, airy dough that rises beautifully during baking. I love the texture, with it's soft interior and crisp, bubbly exterior. Try it with the delicious tapas pizza or any toppings you want. Here are some ideas from my archives:

Fresh Fig and Prosciutto Pizza. (Do you have figs yet where you live? They must be coming soon!)
Corn and Shrimp Pizza
And 4 more great pizzas (including Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Pizza) in this loaded post!

Overnight Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Dough adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet.

You may substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for the bread flour.

Makes about 1 3/4 lb, for 2 (12-inch) pizzas

1/4 cup/2 oz warm water (110 to 115 F)
2 1/4 tsp/1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup/8 oz water
3 Tbs/1 .5 oz olive oil
305 g/10.75 oz/2 cups bread flour
155 g/5.5 oz/1.25 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp coarse salt
Coarse cornmeal
All-purpose flour for shaping dough

Add warm water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently stir in the yeast and rest 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is activated and looks creamy. Add remaining water and olive oil, and whisk by hand to combine. Add flour and salt, and knead with dough hook on low speed just until dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and rest 20 minutes, allowing flour to fully absorb liquid. Knead on medium-low speed until dough is firm, elastic and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes.

Coat a large bowl with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Dough will approximately double in size.

Gently scrape dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, knead briefly and divide into 2 equal portions. Briefly knead each portion into a ball. If you’re saving half the dough for later, lightly coat inside of a zip top freezer bag with cooking spray, seal in one of the dough balls and freeze up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost and bring to room temperature; proceed with shaping the dough. Coat a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray to prevent sticking and cover dough, still resting on floured surface. Cover plastic with a kitchen towel and rest 1 hour, allowing dough to relax and come to room temperature.

Place pizza stone on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 550 F for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a piece of parchment paper and place a ball of dough on top. With floured hands, pat dough into a flat disk. Using your knuckles and fingers, stretch and shape dough into a roughly 12-inch circle. It should be somewhat thin in the middle and slightly thicker around the edges. Sprinkle more cornmeal around the edge and add your toppings. Open the oven and carefully slide parchment paper off of the cutting board onto the pizza stone. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until crust is browned and cooked through. Lift the pizza stone with oven mitts out of the oven and slide parchment onto the cutting board. Slice and serve.