Crabmeat, Portobello and Truffle Oil Pizza

A delicious winner from our good friend (whom we haven’t actually met, yet) Emeril Lagasse. I promised Cath I’d make her a pizza tonight, but we weren’t quite sure what it should be. Thin crust, yes. But beyond that, I was going to do some brainstorming during the afternoon. Then, an email from my bride, asking me what I thought of this particular recipe. She meant for a dinner with her brother, I immediately knew it was going to be tonight’s menu.

The method of preparation for the crust was a little different than what we ordinarily do for a thin crust pizza, and I’ll admit I was a little nervous. Usually we bake the crust on one side, then flip it, add toppings and return it to the oven. This provides a very crispy, crunchy crust, and we’ve found it holds up very well to the ingredients without becoming soggy. For this recipe, we needed to roll out the dough, add toppings immediately and place it in the oven. I was a little apprehensive that we’d have a mess, but it turned out terrific. Kudos to Emeril, it turns out he knows a little something about cooking after all!

A thought about ingredients: The recipe calls for crab and gruyere cheese, but those can be a little pricey if you’re cooking at home. We often substitute an imitation crab for the real thing, and we find we like the taste; it’s often a little less “fishy”. That’s our call, you do what you need to do. Also, the gruyere was $18.50 a pound at the grocery store, so we opted to substitute swiss cheese instead. In our book the flavors are very comparable, and at one third the price.

The end result was terrific. The crust was light and crispy, and the mushrooms, swiss cheese and truffle oil lent it a very pleasant, earthy flavor. The crab was delicious, and it was almost the sensation of a crabcake pizza. It sounds strange, but it really works. We didn’t open a bottle of wine for this one, but based on the overwhelming earthy flavor I’m of the opinion that a pinot noir would be a nice match. Generally, crab would lead me to a riesling, but in this case the pinot would have been my choice. Can you go wrong? It’d take a lot of trying to go wrong with this recipe. It was fantastic!

Ingredients:

  • Basic Pizza Dough, recipe follows, or prepared uncooked pizza crust
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1 large portobello mushroom (about 4 ounces), stem removed, wiped clean, and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over to remove shells and cartilage
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onions or chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups grated tomme, taleggio, or Gruyere
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons truffle oil, to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives, garnish

Preparation:

Place a baking stone on the lower rack of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees F.

Remove the dough from the bowl and briefly knead. Place on a lightly floured work surface and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into a large round of desired thickness or make into 2 smaller rounds. Lightly dust a baker’s peel with the cornmeal. Transfer the dough to the peel. (Alternately, the dough can rest and then be cooked on a lightly oiled baking sheet.)

In a small bowl, toss the mushrooms slices with the olive oil and garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

In another bowl, toss the crabmeat with the mayonnaise, green onions, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne, and a pinch of salt, being careful not to break up the lumps. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Sprinkle the tomme cheese evenly over the pizza, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Arrange the mushroom slices over the cheese. Transfer to the baking stone and cook until the crust is starting to turn golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 6 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and arrange the crabmeat over the top of the pizza and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Return to the oven and bake until the crabmeat is hot and the cheese is bubbly, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with the truffle oil, to taste. Garnish with chopped chives and serve hot.

 

Basic Pizza Dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation: 

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Use as directed.

Yield: 1 large pizza crust, or 2 medium pizza crusts

Seared Scallops with Lemon Orzo

Simple and delicious would be two apt words to describe this dish.  Cath was in the mood for scallops, and she found this gem in her email inbox, courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine. The recipe was fairly straightforward, and our biggest challenge was just to leave the scallops undisturbed as we allowed them to sear on the steaming hot pan. The lemon flavor of the orzo provided a bright counterpoint to the rich carmelization on the scallops, with just a complementary hint of seasoning from the thyme and chives coming through to balance the dish. We paired this recipe with a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay 2005 we found in our collection, and the combination was magic.  It tasted like summer, perfect for a hot August evening in Minnesota.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup prechopped onion
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in pasta, broth, wine, and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente. Stir in chopped chives and lemon juice. Keep warm.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops evenly with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with pasta mixture.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 4 1/2 ounces scallops and about 3/4 cup pasta mixture)

Calories 480 (10% from fat); Fat 5.1g; Protein 60.9g; Carb 45.5g

Shellfish with Chipotle and Tequila

Talk about a terrific dinner for a hot summer night! This was our choice for our monthly dinner with Jim, and the reviews were extremely favorable. We adapted it slightly from a recipe by Gordon Katz in the July 2008 issue of Cooking Light, transforming it from a soup to a pasta dish. The chipotle chile was an excellent foil for the sweetness of the sea scallops, and the shrimp and clams brought home the seafood theme. Many flavors were present, but one of my favorite aspects of the dish was the use of turmeric, which gave it a golden glow similar to saffron. The heat of the chipotle was well-evident, but we paired it with a Chateau de Maligny Chablis Premier Cru 2005, which gave a welcome relief. Don’t be afraid of the ingredient list, this was well worth the effort!

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 24 littleneck clams
  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add yellow onion, bell pepper, black pepper and salt to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic; saute 2 minutes.  Add 1-3/4 cups water and next 10 ingredients (through chicken broth) to pan.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Arrange clams in steamer.  Cover and steam over boiling water 8 minutes or until shells open.  Discard any unopened shells; set aside.

Add scallops and shrimp to tomato mixture; cook 7 minutes or just until done.

Cook pasta in lightly salted water, until al dente.  Drain and return to cooking pot.  Use ladle to add 2 cups of tomato mixture liquid to the pasta.  Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly until the cooking liquid has combined with the starch from the pasta to create a creamy sauce.  Remove from heat.  Divide pasta equally among four pasta bowls.  Divide tomato mixture evenly among the four bowls; top each bowl with 6 clams, 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1  tablespoon green onions.

Yield: 4 servings

Calories 462 (10% from fat); Fat 5g; Protein 45.1g; Carb 59.2g