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Good morning all!
Welcome back to Sunday Gravy.
Today we have part 2 of our venture into the world of homemade flatbreads. Last week we covered the basics to help you get started making your own homemade flatbread. We created a nice basic margherita style flatbread pizza like this.
Absolutely delicious and from start to finish took about an hour to do. Simplicity can be a great fucking thing.
Today we are going to be using the same dough, the same sauce and the same fresh mozzarella but we are going to build 3 different specialty flatbreads that all turned out goddamn magnificently.
As I mentioned last week over the course of two weekends I made a total of 5 motherfucking flatbreads. Each one outstanding. One of them was so fucking outstanding that I made it twice, once over the first weekend and once again the next weekend. I’ll tell you which one in a bit.
Question: What do you put on your pizza?
I’m pretty open to most everything with maybe green pepper being the exception. Don’t get me wrong here, I abso-fucking-lutely cook with green pepper. It’s in the Mother Sauce for christsake, and it’s also in the holy trinity when I make Cajun food, I just don’t care for it in a near-raw state as you find on a pizza.
Everyone has their basic favorites though. Mine would be the pepperoni, sausage and mushroom. It’s my baseline pie when I try a new pizza place so I can offer a fair comparison to other pizza joints. I have a Mexican version of a baseline food too. Carnitas. If a Mexican restaurant can’t get their carnitas right well, fuck ’em! And if a pizza place can’t get a “PSM” right then fuck them too.
Just because I have a baseline pizza order doesn’t mean I don’t like to change things up a bit. You know what’s really good on a pie? Motherfucking bacon! Try a chicken, bacon and fresh garlic pizza and report back to me. Or want some pizza nazi heresy? Bacon and pineapple. BACON bacon not Canadian bacon or ham. Bacon gives the tomato sauce almost a barbecue sauce finish because of the wood smoke. And yes, fucking pineapple can belong on a pizza too.
Sausage and meatball pizza is strait fucking baller shit! Delicious. My favorite local pizza place has this fucking beauty.
That’s from Grimaldi’s El Segundo location and it’s called The Don. Holy fucking Jesus is that tasty. House made Italian sausage, meatballs, thick cut pepperoni and house made mozzarella cheese.
I want one now.
Grimaldi’s also introduced me to the “Brooklyn Bridge” and I used those ingredients to make the flatbread that had the honor of getting made twice. Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and ricotta cheese. I would make sweet, sweet love to that goddamn pie.
We will also be making a PSM and a version of a pizza I was introduced to in Denver called the SLAYER!
The Denver version had bacon, ham, Italian sausage and jalapeno. And that damn thing was AWESOME!
My version had bacon, proscuitto, Italian sausage and… I forgot the goddamn jalapeno even though I bought it specifically to make this pie. The reason I forgot? Because I made the PSM first and was pounding down a bunch of cold-ass beers while I consumed it and fucking forgot the jalapenos when I made the 2nd flatbread.
Don’t expect me to say that drinking and cooking don’t mix because I basically ALWAYS drink beers while I’m cooking.
That ain’t changing anytime soon.
So let’s get busy making some specialty flatbreads in the order that I made them. The margherita was first followed by a version of the “Brooklyn Bridge” with Italian sausage, roasted red pepper and ricotta.
Let’s do this shit!
We got a bit of prep-work to do for the flatbreads today. First of all we need to get that Italian sausage going. The flatbread doesn’t cook long enough to cook raw sausage so we’re going to put a browning on the sausage.
I’ve got a bunch of photos to share so we’ll be doing the rest of this pictorial-like.
My grocery store carries Italian sausage in sausage form as well as this form.
Grab yourself a pan, and get it over medium heat. No lube needed for the pan since the sausage will provide more than enough fat. Grab some chunks of the sausage just using your hand and get it into the pan.
I like the fact that this allows you to choose the size you want for your sausage chunks. Cook for about 5 minutes and turn.
About five more minutes here, just enough to cook the pink out and you’re all set.
Use a slotted spoon and remove to a bowl that is lined with a paper towel.
Next up, we’re going to roast a red pepper. Despite not being a fan of the green pepper on a pizza, roasted red pepper is fucking GLORIOUS on a pie.
Roasted red pepper!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Procure one of these.
Slice in half, remove the seeds, stem and the membrane. Like this.
Get out a baking dish and line it with parchment paper and place the pepper skin side up on the paper.
The pepper will drool a bit while cooking so this makes for easier cleanup.
Into the oven for about 30 minutes until the skin starts to blacken and blister.
Put the cooked pepper into a paper bag or just cover the baking dish in foil for about 15 minutes. We want it to steam some so the skin will be easier to peel off. Remove the blackened skin and chop up. Your choice of size.
Roasted red peppers are a goddamn gift from the culinary gods. They go with almost everything. Great in hummus, you could blend these down and use THEM as a pizza sauce. They’re great as part of an antipasto with some olives, cheese and salami. They kick ass on a grilled cheese sandwich. Use these things! They also will last in your refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Just put the peppers you’re not using today into a container with a little olive oil over them and they refrigerate just fine.
Let’s build the fucking Brooklyn Bridge. Remember this was the 2nd flatbread on the first weekend of cooking and it was made right after the flatbread featured last week.
Heat up your pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven at 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
I’m going to assume you already read part 1 where we made the dough and the sauce. Today we are just starting from there. Get your dough rolled out and sauce it up.
Next we’re going to add a sprinkle of dried basil and a healthy distribution of the cooked sausage.
Then get some of the roasted red peppers on there.
Let’s get us a look at the cheeses used in this application.
Grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano over the top. Add on some of the fresh mozzarella.
Next add some dollops of the ricotta cheese and then some of the grated mozzarella to fill in the blank spots.
Get this onto a piece of parchment paper and place on top of the hot pizza stone in the 450 degree oven for about 8 1/2 minutes. When it looks like this?
That fucker is ready to serve. Notice I placed the cooked flatbread on the cutting board, then just easily slide the parchment paper out and slice.
That’s the same wine from last week’s post, the 19 Crimes Shiraz ’cause I made this flatbread immediately after the cheese flatbread featured last week.
Want the close-up?
Fuck yes. Everything about this flatbread was perfect. The ricotta is creamy and smooth and paired with the Italian sausage and red pepper? Holy hell! I was cooking alone this week and was running around the house looking to high-five anyone. This was one of those occasions where what I cooked turned out EXACTLY like I wanted it too. This was the flatbread I wanted when I started this whole venture and it was perfect. It was so fucking good that I made it again the following Saturday.
With some very slight modifications.
The following Saturday.
First variation! I placed the pizza stone directly on the motherfucking deck of my oven.
The crust was perfect last time but I had just watched a cooking show where somebody put the stone on the bottom of the oven and I wanted to try it.
The next variation I will call the “Structural Integrity/Load Bearing Test.” I was fucking REALLY hungry so I threw DOWN on the fucking toppings.
This time we’re going to add a minced clove of fresh garlic to the party because fresh garlic is the fucking BALLS on a flatbread pizza. Sprinkle the garlic on top of the sauce.
Final variation? Cheese on first and the toppings on top! Toppings on top? Get the fuck out of here!
Grate the cheese on the sauced dough.
THEN add the ricotta and the mozzarella followed by the red peppers and the Italian sausage. How much did I add?
Into the 450 degree oven for about 9 minutes this time.
How did we do?
The good news is the structural integrity of the crust was outstanding!
The not-so-good news?
The combination of the too many toppings combined with the pizza stone being on the bottom of the oven made this a, let’s just say it was a goddamn challenge to remove from the oven. The crust was great but that was a big old puddle of cheese in the middle and it slid around a bit.
Take a look.
If you enlarge that you’ll see evidence of the “cheese slide.”
This fucker was again, goddamn delicious and I ate the whole thing by myself. I was no longer hungry when done. Too much cheese and too many toppings.
The next day, Sunday, now armed with recently acquired flatbread knowledge I went back to work.
I was cooking for 2 today so I made two flatbreads.
The first was the PSM, pepperoni, sausage and mushroom. I did about a five minute pre-cook with the mushrooms, otherwise the flatbread may have taken on their moisture.
Notice, the perfect doneness. Also notice the toppings are on top. I can honestly say this was one of the best PSMs I’ve ever fucking had.
This fucking thing was destroyed in near record time. However! I wasn’t done yet.
Next up was the SLAYER! Again, Italian sausage pre-cooked bacon and proscuitto, the one where I forgot the jalapeno.
Look at this beautiful motherfucker.
Look at the shape! The doneness! The portion control! The perfect thin-ness of the crust. MY GOD!
Look at the “money shots” I took of this.
The banner image…
And another with a little more of the rest of the flatbread.
Oldest brother said “You can serve these in a restaurant right now.”
He was right. Fuck this being one of the best pizzas/flatbreads I’ve ever had, it was one of the very best THINGS I’ve ever cooked.
Goddamn I fucking nailed it.
The biggest take-away from this experiment is proper portion control predicates perfect pizza preparation.
This was so fucking worth the 2 week effort. I can now easily duplicate this flatbread thing on the fly, with no recipe look-up required. I can make any combination of toppings and I just KNOW it will turn out immaculately!
I got this shit wired!
Thanks for indulging me for a two-episode post but this is so worth it.
Drink beers with it!
Thanks folks. This isn’t even an effort anymore, I just fucking love to do it.
See you next week!
Wait a second…
That’s right. We’re playing jazz.
New Orleans jazz.