Posts Tagged ‘pancetta pizza’

Brioche, Polenta Roulade’s and Chorizo Meatballs; Jan. 12th Baking


Even though this global warming is scary, it’s nice to get a warm Saturday to take hundreds of loaves of bread, pizza and gluten-variants from my pizzeria, Avalanche, to the Athens Farmers Market to sell to my neighbors. One of my favorite items to make is my banana brioche with Nutella and almond pudding with roasted almonds, (above.)


Once I knew that it was going to be a warm day, I kicked my preparation into overdrive. First was the chorizo meatballs made from 10 pounds of King Family Pork, which is local, free of chemicals and raised humanely. On tuesday, I mixed a batch of 70 percent pre-ferment made from natural yeast to 30 percent high-protein flour with a pinch of diatatic malt and salt to a 70 percent hydrated dough and it sat in cold fermentation for four days to achieve a great bread.


To this stellar fresh ground pork, I added smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cilantro, basil, pepper, salt, lemon zest, little gems of La Quercia lardo, some cut-up Caputo tipo “00” pizza cornicione, (crust) soaked in paprika and egg. (above left.) I then combined the crust with mozzarella and manchego cheese, toasted almonds, fresh spinach, Stanislaus Valorosso tomatoes and cilantro for a wonderful spanish pizza, (above right.)

I also had some ancho chilies from Patterson Organics here in Athens and whipped up a tikka masala sauce to roast with onions and those chilies. I used this mix on some great schiacciata topped with green beans and cheddar with cilantro made with some ciabatta dough with high hydration, (above.)


For the breads, along with the usual suspects like Italian sausage ladder bread and “Leek-a-choke,” with leeks, artichoke and parmesan, I made use of local spelt from Shagbark Seed and Mill for a Lebanese Barbari, (above left,) with ground coriander, sesame and sea-salt and some French style couronne with dried cherry and walnut, (above right.)


I also made use of several pounds of local parsnips, combining them with King Family bacon, roasted garlic, lemon zest for a knotted fougasse topped with fresh cumin seed and sea salt, (above left.) The other couronne and my personal favorite is packed with kalamata olives, rosemary and roasted garlic, (above right.)


Some other pizza variants are the Turkish-style pide, (Pi-DAY) with mozzarella, provolone, basil pesto, fresh spinach and cherry tomato, (above left.) I also made a really cool schiacciata with two types of swiss cheeses and pork to boot. On one half is imported pancetta, (Italian cured bacon,) and French Emmenthal and the other is Finlandia swiss and King family ham.

Now, if none of those float your boat, then get a load of this honkin’ hunk of flavor- My  mushroom pizza with porcini, portobello, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, thyme, fontina, provolone and teleggio cheeses with a sprinkle of white truffle oil and some cherry tomatoes.

Okay, here is a quick video of most of my baked stuff before the rush. It lasted about two hours before selling out…then I took a nap.

Oops almost forgot this great roulade of Shagbark polenta with ricotta and mascarpone with Reggiano, cilantro and sun-dried tomato topped with Gruyere cheese. yum.

See ya next week!



Local Pancetta, Rouqefort and Chardo-Paw Pizza

When was the last time you ate an entree, sandwich, pizza, soup, salad or bread that can be traced to the people and places you know? Last week?  The week before that? Never perhaps? Our modern world, with all our mega-mart grocers, has made it very hard to complete the cycle of local consumption. We’ve thrown out familiarity and support for our local farmers in our great quest for easy pickins’ with waxy tomatoes picked by slave labor packaged in deceptive red netting and “All Natural” pork from pigs that haven’t stepped more than three paces their whole lives. Most folks don’t really see a problem with this “from afar” food chain of giant trucks rolling into town all day and night; after all, if you haven’t tasted a real, unsprayed grape or local heirloom pork your whole life, you just wouldn’t know.

Because I sell breads at the Athens Farmers Market, I constantly have “Oh my god!” moments when I bite into some of the best produce and meats in this country. Years ago, I bit into an apple grown by Shews Orchard and blurted, “That’s like no other apple I’ve ever tasted!” This was because I was used to buying produce from my the large grocery store. I just didn’t know. Now I do and constantly try to integrate local, organic ingredients in my pizzas on this blog.


This pizza rocks on so many of those levels because all of the toppings are produced, grown or foraged by people I know. The motivation for curing the pancetta fresca (pork belly, a.k.a. fresh side) on this pizza came from the fabulous new book “Salumi” by a writer and chef I greatly admire: Michael Ruhlman (left) along with chef Brian Polcyn.


The cheese is a wonderful Rouqefort made at Integration Acres by Michelle Gorman and Chris Chmiel (check out last blog entry.)


The pancetta fresca (fresh pork belly, or “fresh side” they call it here) is from Rich Blazer and Harmony Hollow Farms.


The chardonnay grapes were given to me from Neal Dix of Shade Winery in Shade, Ohio and the arugula was growing in a pot in my backyard near a small and very gnarly cherry pepper.


The paw paws were…a pain in the keester! Check out my almost-unsuccessful paw-paw forage where I was only able to get three.

This is going to be a great pie! The local goat rouqefort is not as salty as the stuff from France so its a perfect match with the salty pancetta. The sweet paw-paw-chardonnay jam is a fantastic counterpoint to the piquant and savory cheese and pancetta. The nuanced spice from the pepper is a great suprise and the arugula is a refreshing and crunchy end to every bite!

Using the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog, make yourself a seven ounce dough ball and reserve in the refrigerator for the next day.

For the pancetta quick cure: Variation of recipe from “Salumi” (Ruhlman, Polcyn)

One large baton (8-12 ounces) of pork belly. This is cut across the belly and is usually sold at Farmers Markets in inch-wide strips for making lardon.

1/4 cup sea salt

20 turns of a pepper mill


Place the pancetta baton in a bag and toss with the salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator for 20 to 24 hours until stiff.


After the salt has absorbed and the baton is stiff, rinse well with cold water and dry with paper towels. Slice in half (to fit the pan) and sear on high for 10 to 12 minutes until the outer edges brown nicely. Reserve for the pizza topping.

For the paw-paw-chardonnay jam: (be ready to get your hands messy with this!)


Break the paw-paws apart with your hand and let the loose pulp fall into the bowl. The amount of seeds will vary with various paw-paws so take each seed between your thumb and other fingers and roll hard to get the pulp off of the seed. Discard the seeds. Draw you finger against the inner wall of the skin to peel away what pulp you can.


Place 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice (or quarter of a lemon) into the pulp and mix. Take the chardonnay grapes and squish (is that a word?) with your hand. If you are a traditionalist, you can do this with your stinky feet. Place the seeds and skins aside.


Strain the juice and pour into a hot pan. Reduce by half.


Cool the grape juice in the fridge then add to the paw-paw pulp. Refrigerate until topping.

For the Pizza:

1 pancetta baton

bowl of paw-paw, chardonnay grape jam

half of a hot cherry pepper

5 to 8 ounces of roquefort cheese

Handful of arugula


 Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a pizza stone or upturned and heavy cookie sheet on the middle deck. Chop up the hot pepper and use as much as you can handle. Slice the pancetta on the bias.


Form the pizza dough ball into a disc, place on a pizza screen and top with the cheese, pancetta and diced pepper.


Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until nice, brown and crispy.


 And enjoy like crazy.