Thursday, June 14, 2012
Strawberry pizza, what what what? And not some wimpy dessert pizza, either. I’ll put just about anything on a pizza, including apples and pears, so technically strawberries aren’t so much of a stretch. But strawberries with onions, bacon, chicken, and cheese? Not to mention a sauce of strawberry jam, balsamic vinegar, and Sriracha? I like all those things, and even some of them in pairs (strawberries + balsamic, bacon + anything), but let’s face it, as an assemblage it sounds bizarre. I was half-intrigued, half-weirded out when this recipe popped up in my feed reader. It was from Annie’s Eats, however, a site that’s never steered me wrong, and if Annie acknowledged that the combination seemed strange yet tasted wonderful, I figured I should trust her. Plus, whether it turns out well or poorly, unusual food always makes good blog fodder.
Luckily, this is one of those ingredient lists that makes complete sense when you taste it. I did still find the sauce a bit unnervingly sweet for an entrée, but it’s well balanced by the tartness of the vinegar, the spiciness of the Sriracha, the smokiness of the bacon, and the savoriness of the chicken, onion, and cheeses. Unfortunately, I’d thrown away my cilantro earlier in the week in a fit of carelessness (after using half the bunch for a different dish, I carefully thought through the remainder of my upcoming meals and concluded there was nothing else I needed it for, completely forgetting it was yet another element of this unpredictable pizza mélange), so I was forced to make do with a mixture of basil and mint. Both of those herbs seem to be more frequently paired with strawberries, so perhaps it’s understandable that the cilantro slipped my mind, but I think the cilantro might have worked better here—my replacements were OK, but the mint, in particular, struck me as too reminiscent of dessert. Other than that, everything was perfect, and the finished dish reminded me surprisingly strongly of BBQ chicken pizza. Despite his initial skepticism, A particularly liked it (I believe the word he used was “awesome”), so soon strawberry pizza will seem totally normal at our house. And, as a bonus, it’s a great way to use up my omnipresent stash of homemade jam!
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup good-quality strawberry jam
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 pound pizza dough
1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken
4 slices bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2–3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
½ cup hulled strawberries, diced
1. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 4 to 5 minutes or until reduced by about half with a thick, syrupy texture. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Add the strawberry jam and Sriracha, stir well, and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
3. Roll out the pizza dough and place on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread the balsamic-strawberry mixture in a thin layer over the crust. Layer with the chicken, bacon, onion, cheeses, cilantro, and strawberries.
4. Bake pizza until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 11 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.