Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

To Kill a Mockingcurd

 

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It’s a simple fact that fresh Mozzarella is the number-one melting paradise on any pizza. In fact, mozzarella is to pizza what leprosy is to diseases…or Jack the Ripper is to serial killers, bad analogies? Maybe, but using cheese that you have fabricated with your own hands shouldn’t be a scary task.

Melting mozzarella from curd takes the seemingly simple endeavor of making a pizza to the next culinary level.  This old-school method is seldom used in these days of corporate cheese manufacturing but taking the time to craft mozzarella makes a pizza very personal. This is the level of the long-ago craftsman who took pride and responsibility in cooking and operated with the gratification that every aspect of their pizza was simple and perfect!

There is a big difference between making fresh mozzarella and using pre-made mozzarella. The melt on any pizza is more buttery with a tinge of yellow you can’t get with corporate mozzarella which tends to leach out a milky sputum over a pizza when cooked with high heat.

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Now, it seems as though everyone has their own method to melt mozzarella from fresh curd but I rely on what an old Italian guy named Giuseppe showed me on the cliffs of Positano, Italy in 2011. It is a simple and straightforward way whose only tenant is, “Be patient, let the curd melt itself”. This has worked for me, so I stick with it.

Some mozzarella-melters take the slow method of heating the curd with hotter and hotter water while pulling and stretching over and over. I use a simpler method of holding smallish pieces on my pizza ovens until just warmer than room temp, (78-85 degrees) then pouring the hot, salty water over them as you can see in this video.

And here’s the Pizza I made with this mozzarella. Please forgive the abruptness of the starts and finishes, we were in the middle of service at the time.

I hope you get the time to make fresh mozzarella. It’s a great experience!

Chanterelle and Rabbit Pizza

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Mid summer is chanterelle time in Appalachia and also a great time to make a pizza with this wonderful mushroom.

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I was recently in the mountains south of Asheville, North Carolina and found some very gorgeous patches of delectable chanterelle mushrooms. These were much larger with a deeper depth of color than I have found in Southeast Ohio but still had the fake gills and apricot smell of true chanterelles. The kids had a great time collecting them with me on the lookout for poison ivy.

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This pizza is also an ode to the late Charlie Trotter who’s love of chanterelle and rabbit was reflected in his cookbooks. I especially loved the way he used time to benefit his dishes by patiently using low temperatures and reductions to layer flavors in his sauces. This pie has the same qualities of a low-slow sauce made from braising of rabbit thighs and a later addition of chanterelle. The lusciousness afforded by this sauce is juxtaposed with the rabbit ‘bacon’ and its salty-sweet yakitori buzz. The melting fresh mozzarella and chanterelle is heightened by the candy-sweet cherry tomato and even the smokiness of the burnt cornicione on this pie. (yes, I neant to do that… I swear.)  This took a while in prep but was well worth it.

Sauce Recipe:

One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

One half yellow onion diced

Two bone-in rabbit thighs

Four cups chicken stock

One half pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms

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Pour the olive oil in the pan and sear the thighs on high heat until the outside is browned. Add the onion and continue the sauté for five minutes or until the onions are transparent, then add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for at least forty-five minutes to one hour until the meat is falling off the bone.

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Break up the rabbit thigh and add the mushrooms to the pan. Sauté without lid for another twenty minutes. If too dry, add more stock. Strain with a fine strainer and place pan back on medium to low heat and reduce until the sauce caramelizes reducing by half again. This sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. take off heat and reserve in a cool place.

Prep Recipe:

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Using a sharp knife, cut along the belly flap and the loin and separate. Turn the rabbit loin over and cut the tenderloin. (A small strip not to be overlooked.)

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Carefully and season the loin and tenderloin with salt and pepper.  Salt the rabbit belly for three hours then prepare the yakitori sauce. Rinse the belly meat under cold running water. Dry the belly flap.

Yakitori sauce:

One cup low-sodium soy sauce

Half cup sugar

Quarter cup rice wine vinegar

Half cup sake, or dry white wine

Procedure:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and reduce to a thick sauce over medium high heat. If it is too salty to your liking, add more sugar, if too sweet add more soy

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Pour the yakitori sauce to soak the rabbit bacon. Let sit in a cool environment for two hours then put in a 270 degree oven for 15 minutes turning often. Pull from the oven and set aside. Check for doneness of the bacon and if it is not slow-cooked through enough, place in the same oven for another five minutes. Cool. Saute the loin for only three to six minutes to a medium-rare. The tenderloin will only take one minute to cook. Set both aside to cool.

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Create a dough round from either the Easy Dough Recipe or your own mix. Using a spatula, smear the rabbit-mushroom sauce on the disc. then cut the remaining chanterelle mushrooms up and place on the dough, add mozzarella. Cut the rabbit loin and cherry tomato and place all on the dough with the tenderloin. Cut strips from the rabbit bacon and prepare to place on the cooked pie. Below, I placed some fabulous pickled ramps from spring on the pizza to cut through the lusciousness of the other ingredients. Yum.

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Cook in the 495 degree oven for twelve minutes until golden and crisp. After the oven, place the rabbit bacon on the pie and enjoy with friends and even enemies.