Posts Tagged ‘parmesan pizza’

Morel and Parmesan Water Poached Chicken Pizza


Right after describing this pizza to my wife, she said “John, did you know that there are different levels of madness?” Like a good husband, I totally ignored the comment and proceeded to do the unthinkable and dumped a cup of the best aged Parmigiano Reggiano into boiling water. That’s how this all started.


  Last weekend, I was approached by one of the guys from the ‘Morel Mafia’ who stopped by my stall at the Athens Farmers Market and sold me some really great looking morel mushrooms. It was then I knew that spring was in full swing. As I looked throught the mass of market shoppers, I saw that Margie Shew had some great looking fresh watercress that she grows at Shews Orchard at this time of the year and the rusted cogs in my pizza brain started clicking away. This pizza was gonna rock the same way spring rocks!

I love watercress and chicken so I got a few thighs together, a nice brick of Parmigiano Reggiano, the morels, garlic, lemon and some nice Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese and went to work. Oh, I love caraway seeds with morels, it’s one of those combo’s like mango and lime or cauliflower and gruyere or eggplant and mint or…don’t get me started.

But first, the Parmesan water:

This liquid is the rendered liquid essence of pure Parmigiano! I’ve used it as a sauce, a seaweed and shiitake soup by adding dashi broth, or by adding tomato water it makes a fabulous summertime chilled gazpacho broth.

Two cups water

One cup grated or chopped Parmigiano Reggiano (don’t substitute for the real stuff)


Bring the water to a boil and while it at a rolling boil add the cheese. Turn all heat off and stir with a whisk for 10 minutes until cooled down. Add to a glass bowl and cover when cool enough. Store in the refrigerator for two days.


After two days in the fridge, three levels will have formed in the bowl. The heavy milk solids will have fallen to the bottom, the light cream will have congealed on the top and in the middle will be a foggy water. Using a spoon and a deft hand, gently scrape the hardened cream off the top and reserve for later.


 Pour the water through a strainer, (for this recipe, I only strained through a regular wire strainer.) The solids can be used for grating in ricotta or as chips or even in breads.

For the Chicken:



Skin and debone the chicken leg carefully. Cut the sinew out without compromising the integrity of the meat. Rememeber you need a single piece of meat. This may be hard to do because thier usually a small muscled chunk that is not connected well. (The next anatomist or chicken I encounter, I’ll ask them.)


Take each leg meat and lay on plastic wrap. Put another piece on top and pound the crap out of it. I lost my meat mallet (probably in the sand box) so I had to use a rolling pin then the bottom of a heavy pan. Once pounded measure a 1 inch cutter height and cut the leg meat. Spray the cutter with oil and wrap the chicken around the cutter. I was tempted to use some meat glue but the twine worked just fine.


Take the round of leg meat and heat the parmesan water in a small sauce pan. Once the water comes to a boil insert the chicken. Cook for three to five minutes. It will cook fast because of the metal conduction and the hole. I found that if you tilt the pan and don’t spill the parmesan water (like I did,) the chicken will be more evenly cooked like above. Once the chicken is done, place in a covered container and refrigerate.

For the morel and sauce prep:

Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Five to seven fresh morel mushrooms

Juice from one half of a lemon

One tablespoon caraway seeds

One half cup chicken stock


Place the morels in cool water and let sit under the water for at least 15 minutes. (NOTE) Some gregarious morel eaters use salted water but if you do this, you will kill the spores floating around in the water with the small bugs and crap that uses the morel as a New York apartment complex. Take the morels out and place on paper towels. SAVE THE WATER AND THROW AROUND A TREE IN YOUR YARD, THE SPORES HAVE A WAY OF RE-APPEARING EVERY YEAR!


Place the extra virgin olive oil in a pan under medium heat with caraway seeds and saute for five minutes. Add  chicken stock to pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat off. Add morels for ten seconds on each side. You are not cooking the mushrooms, just a quick poach that’s all. Take them out and reserve for later. 


Add two tablespoons of the parmesan cream from the top of the parm-water to the caraway stock. Reduce till it coats back of spoon.


Cut chives and add to the cooled sauce.  


For the pizza:

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees without burning your house down.

Bang out a seven ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog to a 10-11 inch round pizza dough.

Pre-prepared caraway and chicken stock for sauce (above)

One cup Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese cut or shredded

Five pre-prepared chicken and morel rings

One bunch local watercress


Place sauce on pizza dough. Cut or tear about 1 cup of Kashkaval cheese and place on pizza. stuff the chicken rings with the morels and place on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet pour any extra parmesan water or drippings on the chicken. Place cheesed pizza in the oven. Wait for 6 minutes then put chicken and morels in the oven. Cook pizza for a total 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. The chicken should be warmed up enough after eight to 10 minutes. (If you are worried about the chicken, it should be at an internal temp of 165.)







Asparagus and Chitarra-cut, Mozzarella Linguine Pizza

The best paragraph I’ve ever read about spring goes like this:

 “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”                                

Ernest Hemmingway from A Moveable Feast

With this pizza, I want to celebrate spring as innovatively as Ernie described spring without really describing spring.  I am not going to be a limiter of  happiness with this pie! It’s got the best of spring-aspargus and the best cured pork I’ve ever tasted called “Spallacia” which is from La Quercia in Iowa. It is a shoulder of pure-bred Berkshire pork that has been acorn-fed for months. I will probably make some mad by saying that this is better than any Prosciutto di Parma that I’ve used here in the States. I’ve also used the best Stanislaus Valorosso tomato filets from California, Parmigiano Reggiano and some excellent fresh mozzarella.

I wanted to show you a video of one component of the pizza that won Best Non-traditional Pizza in the Midwest and third in the Non-traditional finals at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Here is Patty Nally creating chitarra-cut mozzarella noodles during a very busy lunch rush. She first made the thin sheets from fresh curd. A chitarra is one of the oldest pasta forming devices and is an important tool of the Abruzzi region. It was originally made in 1800 in the town of Chieti. I will take this linguine and wrap my roasted asparagus later.


 Now, lets make this pie.

Take one, seven ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog and hold at room temperature to proof.

For the toppings:

                                                         (Following the picture from top left clockwise)

4 thin slices of fatty spallacia

2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

5 asparagus spears

6 to 10 strands of mozzarella linguine

2 to 3 large stanislaus tomatoes pulled apart

5 ounces of fresh mozzarella

one bunch (5 leaves) fresh basil

sea salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste

Preheat oven to 500 or as close as you can get it.


Snap asparagus to fit a 12 inch pizza. Using a vegetable peeler, run it along the asparagus stalk to take the tough outer skin off. Coat asparagus with olive oil and either roast for seven minutes in a 450 degree oven. (I did this and overcooked them as you can see,) or sautee the asparagus for seven to 10 minutes. Cool and wrap with mozzarella linguine.


Grab a few pear tomatoes from the can and insert your finger into the center of the tomato. pull you finger down to seperate lengthwise letting the seeds and tomato juice flow out. Squeeze gently and set in colander to drain.


Make a pizza round, put on pizza screeen, then add the Parmesan, basil, tomato filets and mozzarella chunks. Bake in the oven until crisp and beyond golden (about 8 to 12 minutes.)


While still hot, add the spallacia and watch the magic of this fabuous meat depositing the delicious fatty gravy all over the cheese. This is truly an “Oh my…(insert god that you are comfortable with here) moment! Check the above…melting, melting, gone!

Add the asparagus and basil for garnish. Seriously, you don’t have to add olive oil or salt to this pie because the spallacia is enough heaven for one pizza!