Week #9: Florida – Citrus and Mango Seafood Pizza

State: Florida

Blog:

So I moved down to Florida from Maryland almost 11 years ago this month.  I feel like I have a solid understanding behind the various types of Florida cuisine.  Florida has a lot of Spanish, Native American, Greek, Mexican and Italian influence in cooking, so I was hoping to incorporate this in my pizza.  I wanted to use Grouper, as it is a Tampa favorite for fish and I wanted to focus on a tropical or Key West style theme.  Florida is well known for produce and great Seafood.  This was the first time that I ever ate Stone Crab claws before.  They were really good and I thought the flavor of them enhanced the pizza.  I hope you will try to make this at home and I hope it inspires you to challenge your Pizza Night creativity!!

Ingredients Needed: Serving Size 2

2 Stone Crab claws

½ lb of Key West Pink Gulf Shrimp

1/4 lb of Grouper

Cilantro according to taste

1/4 Tbsp of Butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Citrus and Mango Compote

¼ cup of Florida sugar

1 tbsp of distilled white vinegar

1 mango

½ Florida Orange – seeds removed

½ lime

¼ tsp of minced garlic

¼ green pepper

1 strand of scallion

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp of fresh basil

Base: For the pizza base, I made a citrus and mango compote (please see recipe).  I altered what the real recipe called for and went with my taste buds, so my recipe above is a ballpark idea.  I put the basil, mango, orange, and scallion in the processor.  I processed enough to ensure everything was a smaller size.  I then put the mixture into a small sauce pan and cooked on medium until the mixture softens.  I then added the remainder ingredients, cooking for another 3 minutes or so.  Let cool and add to pizza crust later.

Seafood: 

Grouper:  For the protein, I seared the grouper in butter with a little salt and pepper. After searing both sides, I sliced the fish into small-to-medium slices.

Shrimp:  When cooking the shrimp, I seared on both sides in olive oil.  I then tossed in some cilantro, lime juice, and left over processed mango and green peppers mixture.

Stone Crab Claws:  For the claws, since they are already cooked, I did a quick reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.  I left these untouched, as I wanted the crab to taste like crab.

Cooking the Pizza:

I preset the oven for 415 degrees (varies depending on your oven).   First, I covered the pizza crust with the citrus and mango compote.  I then baked the pizza crust for 5 minutes.  Next, I added the shrimp, grouper, scallions, jalapenos, and a handful of mozzarella cheese to the pizza.  I baked for another 5 minutes.  Finally, I added a little cilantro and scattered the stone crab meat around the pizza.  Please see photo for how to position the toppings.  The goal is to make sure every slice has equal amount of toppings.

Pairing:

If you are looking for a great beer to pair with this pizza, look no further than Cigar City Brewing Company, which is located here in Tampa. Cigar City makes strong, slap you in the face type beers that would pair beautifully with this pizza. For this pizza, I would recommend Cigar City’s Jai Ali, Invasion Pale Ale, or the Florida Cracker. For a wine pairing, a Pinot Noir would work out really well with the flavor contrasts and textures of this pizza. Cheers!

Learning Moments:

This pizza challenged me and took me about 2 hours to make, as there was a lot of prepping and intricate details when cooking the seafood toppings.  I learned that I really like Grouper and Stone Crab Claws.  The compote was amazingly delicious as well and you can put that on anything and eat it.  I feel like I am growing as a cook by taking on this challenge.  This challenge was one of the best decisions I have made in the kitchen so far!

Week #7: Connecticut Yankee Pot Roast Pizza – Under Construction

State: Connecticut

I researched as much as I could about the state and most of the recipes are traditional to the New England area, but I already have ideas for MA, ME, and Vermont. I know that Connecticut is known for Yankee Pot Roast.  I have family in Hartford and I grew up eating my grandmother’s pot roast, so this was a walk for me down memory lane.  I first had to make the pot roast and it calls for a lot of cooking time, so I had to alter the recipe.  This is not new to me, since I always alter and go off the recipe instructions.  I am a cooking rebel, so why start following recipes now?  🙂

Here are some of the ingredients used to create the Yankee Pot Roast:

½ lb of Beef Chuck Roast (Preferably Organic – Whole Foods)

2 Shallots

1 Pizza dough (Naan is great to use if low on time or prep) or Udi’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust if allergies

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:

Meat:

The second step I did was I took beef chuck roast and cut it up into stew size pieces. Dredge the beef in the flour until all areas of the beef are covered.  Cook the beef in canola or vegetable oil until all sides are browned.  After cooking,

Pizza:

Pairing:

Week #6: Colorado

Week #6: Colorado Chili Pizza

State: Colorado

I have never been to Colorado before, so my goal was to do as much research as I could.  I know Colorado has a strong Mexican culture influence and is well known for Organic foods.  After “Googling” cuisines of Colorado, it seems that Chili is one of the most popular dishes.  The only challenge with making a Colorado style chili was the trying to find the right types of peppers to make the sauce with.  From what I understand, Colorado uses “Hatch” green chilies and “Big Jim’s” medium hot peppers. Unfortunately, these peppers are not accessible in Tampa, so I did a different take on peppers and went with my own.  So this is a Colorado Chili inspired Pizza dish.

Ingredients Needed:

½ lb of Beef Chuck Roast (Preferably Organic – Whole Foods)

3 small or 2 medium Smoked Chipotle peppers (remove seeds)

1 Pizza dough (Naan is great to use if low on time or prep)

1 Jalapeno with seeds

1 Poblano Pepper (remove seeds)

½ Green pepper

½ can of tomato paste

1 tsp of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp minced garlic

1 can of pinto or ranchero beans (optional)

Water to cook smoked peppers – save for puree mixture – add more to your preference of texture

Sauce:

First, I found a recipe on how to make a Colorado chili and utilized similar, as well as different ingredients for the recipe.  The recipe called for 2 different types of peppers, green pepper, onion, garlic, and a few other ingredients (salt, pepper, cumin, etc).  I substituted the peppers for a smoked Chipotle pepper (Fresh Market), poblano pepper, and jalapeno peppers.  I first cooked smoked chipotle pepper in a glass of water in the microwave to soften the pepper and removed the seeds.  I then processed all the peppers, including the green pepper with the chipotle water, garlic, olive oil, and onions.  For some reason, I don’t have a blender, but if I did, I would use it to puree or liquefy into a broth.  For me, the mixture needed something to add depth to it.  I added in a little tomato paste and water to make it a little more robust. The tomato paste gave it more depth and with the dry spices, it turned out amazing.

Meat:

The second step I did was I took beef chuck roast and cut it up into stew size pieces.  After searing both sides, I added the mixture sauce to the pan and boiled for 5 minutes, then reduced it down to a simmer.

Pizza:

After cooking the sauce and meat, I used the sauce as the base of the pizza.  Then I added the toppings and a layer of shredded Mexican style cheese.  You can always use a Monterey jack or sharp cheddar to enhance the flavor of this dish.  Finally, I finished off the pizza with green onions for a topping.

Pairing:

When think of Colorado, you think of great craft beer such as New Belgium Brewing Company.  With a strong spicy dish, I would recommend an IPA or American Pale Ale to balance the flavors of your pallet.   For this pizza, New Belgium “Rampant” is a great beer choice.  For wine, you could always do a white wine such as a Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio.

50 States on 50 Plates

This is my first time blogging, so please bear with me.  I have decided to blog about my new kitchen cooking adventures.  Every weekend, my wife Monica and I have Pizza Night.  This has been an ongoing tradition for us, but in the last few years, I have challenged myself to cook with creativity and purpose.

Every week, when I make a new pizza from each state, I will blog about my research and will guide you through the adventures of making an inspired pizza.  Warning, I do not measure ingredients.  I usually eyeball them and cook to taste, look, and texture.  I will do my best to make sure I provide “ballpark” measurements.  🙂

Let the adventures commence!!