Posts Tagged ‘fresh mozzarella pizza’

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.


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


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.


Dead Dough Walking


This dough was made on December 13th, at 8 P.M. I put it on the farthest, coldest speed rack in my walk-in refrigerator and forgot about it. It was once a proud, strong dough made with a 60 percent pre-ferment from a naturally yeasted levain, high gluten flour with 14 percent protein, salt and diastatic malt. Now it sat like an old man flopped on a park bench. It’s best days were gone. The yeast had eaten the simple sugars over the past 12 days and the played-out gasses that initially pumped its chest out toward the sun, were gone.


 Yesterday, at 9 A.M. on December 26th, I pulled it out. It had been sitting in a state of cold fermentation for exactly 301 hours. I usually use this old dough as a nice “Kicker” to a new batch of ciabatta or batard dough, but as I pulled this dough off the tray, the condensation and extra virgin dribbled off and that beautiful, fruity smell of fermented wheat hit my nostrils screaming, “I’m still good damn it! BAKE ME!” So I did.


I gently formed a disc, then microplaned some Parmigiano Reggiano on the dough.


Then I dressed it with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.


After the cheeses, I put some San Marzano tomato filets on the cheese for sweetness.


Then I got greedy and veered from the traditional path with some paper thin slices of La Quercia lardo that would melt all over this beauty.

Then I put it into a 550 degree oven and baked it for nine minutes. The leapording on the bottom was nice even though I baked it on a pizza screen.

The crumb was spectacular with nice, irregular open cells and a crispy crust with no gumline. Like any old man, it’s rise was slow and predictable unlike the unruly younger doughs, it nevertheless made up for this in complexity as every bit of the grain came out as a forceful wheaty-malty taste deep in the back of my throat and then left a caramel aftertouch in it’s wake.

But best of all, this old man who once sat floppily on a tray in my walk-in turned his twilight years into a treat for me and my staff.

Ain’t life grand?