Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Puff Pastry Pizza

I've been recuperating from surgery for the past couple of weeks, and while some very kind people have brought over yummy dinners for the Bald Guy and me, I've really missed the creativity and flow of being in the kitchen. This is the first thing I've made worth writing about since I've been able to stand up long enough to cook.

I stole this from the February 2011 issue of Food and Wine magazine, but substituted out several of their ingredients and added some of my own - mostly because that eggplant lurking in the back of the refrigerator was about a millisecond away from becoming a science experiment if it didn't get eaten, and because I enjoy using EVERY cooking utensil in the house to make something I could have with a touch of a few phone or computer buttons.

Anyhoo. In addition to being nommy, the bits that are noteworthy (to me - maybe you've been using these ingredients for years. If so, don't tell me. My ego is fragile.) are the puff pastry crust and using sweet potato purée instead of tomato sauce. This recipe can be easily modified for vegetarian purposes, but I don't know what sorts of grains lurk in puff pastry, so y'all gluten-free people may miss out. I do have some gluten-free pizza dough mix the Bald Guy bought on a whim (Bless.) that needs to be used...if it turns out well with the sweet potato sauce, I'll let you know.

1 eggplant, diced in about a 1/2 inch dice (maybe a little smaller)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (original recipe calls for pre-baked pizza crust)
A little all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 egg, lightly beaten, or a little melted butter, for brushing (optional)
1 sweet potato, medium/large-ish size (or you can use "mashed sweet potatoes from a store," according to the recipe), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 teaspoon thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if dried)
A little knob of butter and a little swirl of olive oil (about a tablespoon of each, give or take)
1 large red onion, very thinly sliced (recipe calls for white. I scoff. Scoff!)
1 tablespoon oregano, a little less if dried
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
4 ounces (ish) of thinly sliced soppressata, proscuitto, or parma ham. Try not to eat the entire package while waiting for the dough to bake.
1.5 cups (or thereabouts) of shredded mozzarella
About a quarter cup shredded fresh basil leaves, if you've got 'em
(Obviously you can add or subtract as many toppings as you want. This is not a dictatorship. I'm more of a socialist monarchist, myself. SHARE, DAMNIT!!)
  • Thaw the puff pastry sheet according to package directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Toss the eggplant in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet or pan and roast for about 20 minutes, or until just turning golden-brown (and not burnt. Ooops.) Take out of the oven and transfer to a bowl or something to cool. 
  • Lightly flour your kitchen counter or pastry board. Be sure to include your feet in their felt slippers (that flour will never come off), the front of your jeans, and the cat for good measure.
  • With a rolling pin (or, you know, a can of soup or a large juice glass or the cat), roll out the puff pastry rectangle until it's about 10 x 15 inches or thereabouts. If the pastry dough comes separated at the pre-perforated folds, just dampen your fingers with a little water and pinch it back together. It will be fine. Don't freak out. 
  • Fold the edges in about a half-inch to form a raised rim for your pizza. Brush those neatly folded edges with a little egg, for a glossy brown shine (if you're into brunette pizzas). Prick the inside of the neat geometric shape you've just created with a fork a bunch of times so it doesn't puff up too much in the middle while it's baking (mine puffed anyway, but I squished it with the weight of the ingredients). 
  • Transfer your puff pastry rectangle to a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper to keep it from sticking) and bake for about 10 minutes until the pastry's golden-ish and nearly baked.
Meanwhile (back at the ranch)...
  • In a large saucepan, boil the sweet potato until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and transfer sweet potato to a food processor and process ('cause that's what you do with a food processor) until smooth. Add a bit of fat-free plain yogurt if it's too dry, up to 1/2 cup. Season to taste with thyme, salt and pepper. 
Meanwhile MEANWHILE...
  • Heat up that butter and oil in a skillet until nice and melted, over medium heat. Add your onions oregano and sizzle, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes (mine took about 5 minutes. Watch that sucker like the proverbial bird of prey!) Add the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated, about 10 minutes (again, mine took about 5 minutes to get to a nicely caramelized, glossy, balsamic-y state).
Now. After dirtying nearly every dish in your kitchen for what is essentially a convenience food, you're ready to assemble your pizza!
  • Spread the sweet potatoes over the pizza crust. Add the onions. Then the eggplant. Arrange pepper slices, then top with basil leaves, cured meat product and mozzarella. You can use a schmancy pizza stone, or you can bake directly on the oven rack (um. I will not come clean up your oven if you use this method.) but I just used the cookie sheet the puff pastry was baked on originally, and it turned out fine. Stick the pizza in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until bubbling and golden in spots. 
  • Eat. Eat Eat! Nom!
Extra bonus photo because I couldn't choose and because this shows the pretty pattern of the peppers (and because don't you think it looks vaguely like a WinDoze logo? Creepy how marketing gets in your head...)

No comments:

Post a Comment