I was getting kind of sick of ordering delivery pizza (this happens at least 2-3 times a month). It was time to put a spin on gourmet pizza, but I just didn't know what it would be. Without pizza dough or an oven that is capable of creating the perfect pizza crust (I don't have an oven that can go up to a 1000 degrees), I decided I would use potatoes instead. This recipe is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party, but easy enough that you can cook it within 5-15 minutes.
For 4 small, personal sized pizzas 4" in diameter, you will need:
- 2 large potatoes peeled and cleaned
- 4 teaspoons salt (to flavor the potatoes)
I'm doing four different flavor combinations here, and the measurements for each combination will top 4 small pizzas or 1 large pizza. See below and choose your favorite, or serve all four different flavors.
Cheese & pepperoni pizza:
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup marinara sauce
- 10 slices of pepperoni (or as much as you like)
- 7-8 leaves of fresh basil
Mushroom swiss and ham pizza:
- 1/2 cup chopped ham
- 1 cup cooked mushrooms
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices of swiss cheese
Shrimp scampi pizza:
- 12 pieces of fresh shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/3 cup butter
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup white wine (use something you'll drink)
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Bleu cheese & arugula pizza:
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/2 cup blue cheese
- 16 thinly sliced pieces of pear
Whew, so now that you have the recipe (this isn't strict at all, you can change the toppings to your liking or even add more of something, like extra cheese) we can get started. Below, a shot of all the toppings I'm using for my pizzas:
Start out with a large potato, and slice down both sides of the potato so that you get flat edges. This is so that you can anchor it onto this contraption. If you don't flatten out the bottom, it will be hard to hook it onto the cutter. The cutter can be bought here.
Shave the potato down by just spinning the handle in a circular motion.
What you'll get are these thin angel hair-like strips of potato. This will be used as the crust.
Heat a frying pan—I'm using a cast iron pan for a crispy crust, but you can use a regular one. When you start to see smoke coming off the pan you can place all the potatoes on top of the pan. Make sure to coat your pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil. Spread all the potato around evenly, but be careful NOT to burn your finger tips.
After about 5 minutes, season your potato with salt (sprinkle evenly around top) and then take some grated mozzarella cheese and layer it on top of the potato evenly. Leave a thin border. After the cheese melts, top the cheese with marinara. Usually marinara sauce coats the bottom layer, but this will just make the potatoes very soggy, and it's better if the cheese melts into the potatoes (you'll see why later). My pan measures about 8" in diameter, in case you were wondering how big my potato pizza is.
Don't follow any time guidelines for this pizza, you'll know you can take it off the griddle when you check the crust. If it's nice and golden brown (and crispy), you're done! Serve it on a round cake stand. To add color and flavor, you can also add 5-6 fresh basil leaves about 2-3 minutes before you serve it.
The crust should look like this:
I love how the stringy, melted texture of the mozzarella cheese blends in seamlessly with the angel hair potatoes. You almost can't tell which is which.
To make the shrimp scampi, melt the butter and heat olive oil. Add in the garlic and salt, and stir until the garlic is nicely toasted. Then you can add the white wine. To thicken the sauce, add 1 tablespoon flour, and then add the shrimp. You're done with the sauce when the shrimp turns pink and is nice and firm. The parsley can be added later when the pizza forms. Put this sauce aside. If you want, you can even add 1 teaspoon potato starch to the sauce—this will give it a very gooey and thick texture which can work nicely for the pizza.
Now there is really only one other thing to prep for the pizzas, which are the mushrooms. In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil. When it's nice and hot, throw all the sliced mushrooms into the pan. Stir until they turn brown, but don't salt it until it's all done (this will pull moisture out of the mushrooms, which will only make them soggy). Add garlic at the end and cook for another 1-2 minutes. The garlic is thrown in at the end to prevent it from burning and adding a bitter flavor to the mushrooms (mushrooms will take long to brown).
These little rounds measure about 4x4 inches, and you can get them at most kitchen utensil stores. They're great for when you need to shape something while it's cooking on a pan. The angel hair potatoes can get pretty unruly so these silicon rounds help mold it. Place the potatoes into each round on a heated skillet coated with olive or vegetable oil.
Blue cheese & arugula pizza below;
Top the bleu cheese with arugula and pear after the bleu cheese starts to melt.
For the shrimp scampi pizza, I added the sauce and then the chopped parsley. The shrimp was added a little later.
Thanks for reading. More next week!
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