Posts Tagged ‘emile henry pizza stone’

Grilled Freshwater Scampi Pizza

This great thin crust pizza can be made using all-purpose flour, cooked in your own kitchen oven.

Last weekend at the Athens Farmers Market, I experienced the fruits of the annual harvest that most of us around these parts look forward to. The annual Hocking College Malaysian River Prawn harvest was underway and I made sure to get enough to make pizza. Professor Lloyd Wright and Hatchery Technician Geoff Rouche from the Hocking College Aquaculture Center and Fish Hatchery made it possible for hundreds of people to get Ohio farmed shrimp.

Professor Wright (Left photo, on right) and his crew brought a boat load of shrimp that was gone within an hour.

I am going to do a different pizza than the elaborate shrimp pizza blog post of last year. This time, I’ll incorporate the last sweet heirloom tomatoes of the season with local Farmer Jack cheese from Laurelville Creamery. I love the taste of basil with shrimp and have designed a Genovese Shrimp Pizza at my pizza place, Avalanche Pizza. It should taste spectacular, as the low key spice of the  Jack cheese has the same back-palate finish as these prawns. Not in an umami way but in a lobster way.

Grilling the shrimp with shells on gives them a nice charred flavor. Then I will marinate these par-cooked prawns in a garlic-shallot oil with fresh basil, and finish this pie with some spicy late-season arugula. But first a little background on the prawns.

Here are my scampi. The heads are really cool and would go well in any gladitorial fight. The long blue claws are amazing.

The giant Malaysian river prawn, or freshwater scampi or cherabin, starts its larval stage in brackish water but spends its adult life in fresh water. This species can get very large — over 12 inches long — and is  important as a source of food or protein.

Last year, Lloyd put it best, saying that aquaculture is the newest and best way to introduce protein into our society using less land, feed and other resources than cattle, pigs and chickens do. Aquaculture also pollutes less and introduces us to new and sustainable ways of eating and cooking. The added bonus of employing local people who produce a local product makes this a great business to start.

The spring fed ponds at Lake Snowden are home to the prawns who love the safe structure of last year’s Christmas trees. When ready for harvesting, the guys drain the pond and the shrimp gravitate to the box, which is deeper than the draining pond. Genius.

I salute Lloyd and Geoff for teaching our young people new and better ways of making food available for the nation.

The recipe:

Using the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog, make two 7 ounce dough balls. Place one in the freezer for use later. If using a frozen dough ball, let it sit out to unfreeze.

Heat the oven to 475 degrees F. using a pizza stone like the Emile Henry Pizza Stone that I’ve used the past couple of recipes. It doesn’t crack or smell weird when it gets hot. You can also cut on this stone. Otherwise use an upturned heavy cookie tray and parchment paper.

15 to 20 freshwater shrimp (saltwater shrimp may work but will have a saltier taste)

1 garlic clove, chopped fine

1 small shallot, chopped fine

6 leaves of basil

2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Twist or pinch of sea salt

1 cup of Jack cheese (not Pepper Jack)

1 large fresh heirloom tomato

Several small leaves of arugula

Turn the grill on high. Skewer all the shrimp right behind the head, at the collar. Place on the grill and don’t walk away. We are just par cooking these. Wait 3 to 4 minutes for each side to just turn color, to red or orange. Take off the grill. (Yes, I have alot more than 20 shrimp on these skewers. Whatta ya think I’m gonna eat while making this pie?)

Shell the shrimp by twisting the head off, then take one set of legs and pull to the side of the shrimp. This should get the shell off. You will have to gently pry the shell off near the tail because it is harder to remove than nearer the head. In the end, this is what you have.

Place the minced garlic, shallot and chopped basil leaves in a bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and a twist of sea salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Form the pizza disc and place on a pizza peel or the bottom of a large flat piece of cardboard (both of these should be dusted with semolina or cornmeal). Sprinkle on the cup of Jack cheese, then the sliced tomato, then the shrimp.

Place the pizza in the oven and cook for 10 to 14 minutes, depending upon your oven. I watch for a golden browning of the crust and a consistant brown color on the bottom.

Man, this pizza was so freakin’ good. Thanks, Lloyd!

Ox Tail Pizza with Cipollini and Bone Marrow

There I was just two weeks ago, minding my own pizza business, and in walked my Amish friends from Chesterhill, Ohio, Joe and Verna Hirshberger. I hadn’t had time as of late to travel the 30 minutes it took to go to their farm, so I was happy to see them.

“Hello John, we brought you the cipollini onions you requested.” Joe said in a mysterious sort of way. I instantly remembered telling Joe that I could use a few of these midget onions before the spring planting season.

“Great, just put them up here.” I pointed to the counter.

“I am afraid we will need much more room than that, John,” Verna said, chuckling.

“What?” I asked, as Joe left.

“You said that you could use any cipollinis that we could grow,” Verna replied as Joe came in the door with a huge box filled with the small red and white onions.

“Holy…aaa…” I cleared my throat in embarassment and horror. Wow, you were right,” I said. “That IS a lot of onions.”

“That’s not all.” Joe said and made 3 more trips, bringing the total to 80 pounds of cipollini onions.

“Wow.” It was all I could say. In my mind, I saw myself not only peeling these, one of the biggest pain- in-the-rear vegetables, for the rest of my life, but also saw that cartoon dollar bill sprout wings and flutter away from me. “Why so many?” I asked stupidly, remembering that the Amish in Chesterhill never do anything small. Joe explained that since he buys plants in bulk, that they had to buy numerous flats of the plants.

We haggled over price and they won (they always do.) After they left, I put the onions in two 55-gallon trash bags and have been braising, sauteeing, pickling, chopping, making salsa, carmelizing and just plain swearing. The only things I haven’t done with these sweet marbles of the onion world is juicing and sous vide.

When life hands you cipollinis, just make pizza. Here is an organic and local Pizza al Taglio that we sold last week: broccoli rabe, small sunburst tomatoes, and corolla potatoes with Manchego and Gruyere cheeses.

This is why they have made it on this Oxtail Pizza with Bone Marrow. It’s just meat from the ox tail, a small heaping of Gruyere, some thyme and that’s it. I must let you know that this was the most painful pizza to make because I hobbled around the kitchen with a cast on. My doctor said that I must stay off my feet, but what does he know? Sometimes pizza must take priority.

Lets make this fabulous pie! (Please note: I am using chicken stock and white wine instead of beef stock and red wine in this recipe because  do not want to contaminate any flavor nuance from the oxtails. To me, Beef stock and red wine tend to overpower a braise.)

Using the Easy Dough recipe, make two 7 ounce dough balls and freeze one for later use.

For the marrow bones: Put one quart of water with 4-5 tablespoons of kosher sea salt in a bowl. Stir to incorporatate.  Soak the marrow bones to extract as much blood as possible. Change the brine when when it gets cloudy. You may have to do this 2 or 3 times and this will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes. (We will come back to these after the braising of the oxtails.)

4 nice sized oxtails (the larger they are, the more meat you will get from them)

1/2 cup flour for dredging

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup diced cipollini onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups water

Put the flour on a plate and add the salt and pepper, mix well. Dredge each oxtail in the flour, coating all. In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on high heat. Just before the oil smokes, addthe oxtails. Turn to brown on all sides. Put the oxtail in a medium stockpot.

Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the hot saute pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Turn the heat to medium. Turn the stockpot on high. When the oxtails start to sizzle, add the white wine and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the oxtails and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

When the vegetables have sweated sufficiently, (they will be limp but still colorful), add them to the stockpot, then add the water. Turn the stockpot heat to high. Add the tomato paste and stir. As soon as the mix comes to a boil, turn to low and simmer. Cover and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.

Back to the bone marrow.

Pre-heat oven to 35o degrees F. Take the bones out of the brine and place on a peice of foil. Add the cipollini onions to add fragrance to the marrow. Fold the foil up and place in the oven on the same saute pan you used before. Cook for 30 minutes and take out immediately. (Note: Do not overcook the bones. You will know they are overcooked when the marrow turns to liquid-oops!)

When the bones have cooled, use a thin sharp knife to gently scrape the marrow out of the bone. You can also press the marrow out from other end of the pipe. This is a delecate process, so take your time. Put on a plate and place in the fridge to harden.

When the oxtail braise has sufficiently reduced and the meat is falling off the bone, take the tails out of what is left of the broth. (Strain the broth and season for a great soup for lunch.) Pick the meat off the bones, taking care to avoid any extraneous cartilage. Cut the meat with the grain into small matchsticks and reserve for the pizza.

Take the skin off of the cipollinis and cut them in half.

To make the pizza:

1 7-ounce dough ball, formed into a disc

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Oxtail braised meat

1 cup Gruyere cheese

10 medium cipollini onions, sliced and roasted

Bone marrow that has been sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Put the olive oil on the pizza dough and rub onto the inner part of the disc, not the outside crust. Place the oxtail meat, then the Gruyere, then the onions on the dough. Place in the oven, using a pizza peel dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Place on a pre-heated pizza stone or upturned, heavy cookie sheet. Here I used an Emile-Henry pizza stone that I had placed in the oven and preheated.

As soon as the pizza starts to turn golden brown, sprinkle the top with the fresh thyme and the marrow. If you put the marrow on too soon, it will turn to liquid. Cook until the marrow starts to warm.

This is the most spectacular pizza you’ll ever taste. It is worth the trouble.