Do you still have “Zou Bisou Bisou” stuck in your head after last Sunday’s Mad Men? (Did I just get it back in your head after you thought you had bested that earworm? Sorry.) While it was inevitable that we were going to celebrate its return after at 17-month long hiatus with food and drink, the fact that you only rarely see any of the characters with food (with none of it looking all that appetizing to boot) meant that I wasn’t going to adhere to any strict theme, save for insisting Michael make us a round of Old Fashioneds. Certain nods to the show, after all, must be made, and cocktails have always felt far more appropriate than food.
Besides: we had finally gotten a couple of new half sheet pans at Chef’s the day before, and I was in the mood for homemade pizza.
The first one was inspired by two separate dishes, both from Barcelona Wine Bar: their classic tapa chorizos with sweet and sour figs and the coca we enjoyed at the Stamford location a couple of weeks ago that boasted caramelized onions and goat cheese. I’m not sure why I never thought to put the sweet and sour figs on a pizza before, but I’m glad I finally did–with some shallot and some drunken goat cheese (i.e. goat cheese in which the rind has been rubbed in red wine), this was a rich pizza without being too heavy (as we had a second one to make) or too cheesy (as that would upset Michael’s stomach). For all I know, this was basically what we had at Barcelona without the caramelized onions, but, to paraphrase Pete Campbell from a season one episode, I arrived at it independently.
The second pizza was one that sounded good on paper, but didn’t quite come out the way I was hoping it would. I wanted to do a play on veal saltimbocca and have a pizza with ground veal, sage, prosciutto and some hard cheese. The pizza looked good, but the ground meat was a little too crumbly and wasn’t terribly neat to eat because the piave and romano cheeses I had laid down as a base were not enough to get the other toppings to cling to the dough. I’m pretty sure fresh mozzarella would do the trick nicely, but that will have to wait for another pizza night.
And as for this new season of Mad Men, while I’m very glad that it’s back, I’m also glad that we’re only getting one two-hour episode. Two hours of new material is just too much to take in all at once. The show is so excellently paced that makes it just right for seeing one hour a week, something I didn’t fully appreciate until we tried watching a few other shows while we waited for it to come back onto the air. Regardless, I’m looking forward to eleven more weeks with the SCDP crew.
Sweet-and-Sour Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese and Shallots
Makes one pizza
- One half recipe of dough, with the other reserved for another pizza
- 1 cup of dried white Spanish or Turkish figs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Ground cinnamon
- 1/3 pound drunken goat cheese
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Kosher salt to taste
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible (set the broil temperature on the baking setting if possible).
Place the figs, vinegars, brown sugar, water, and cinnamon into a saucepan. Bring up to a simmer and cook for about 10-12 minutes to let everything reduce to more of a syrup than a sauce.
Stretch the dough out to fit onto your stone or an upturned sheet pan, and use a fork to dimple the dough so it doesn’t puff up too much while cooking. Blind-bake the dough for about six minutes, then take out of the oven, evenly spread the cheese , the shallots, and then the figs and sauce, and place back into the oven to cook for another six minutes. (Note: we’ll just pull the rack out and carefully add ingredients, as the pan will be very very hot at this point.) When the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and let cool on a cutting board and sprinkle thyme leaves over the pizza. Cut into slices and serve when pizza is cool enough to touch, and season with salt to taste.