After almost a year of talking about it, I’ve finally hosted my pizza party! We asked some neighbors in for some new year, good food, and a little bubbly. The Chicago Style Deep-Dish Pizza was the star attraction. I also made a tasty Caesar salad and some champagne sorbet for dessert. Appetizers were cured Coho salmon on lefse and toasted baguette slices with a chanterelle mushroom topping.
The pizza recipe is from the thoughtful but ungenerous folks at Cook’s Illustrated.Com. I would include a link to their recipe but unless you pay for an ID and password you cannot access it. As a subscriber to their magazine, as well as their web content, I enjoy their work very much and I understand their right to control their intellectual property. I would just point out, however, that Fine Cooking.Com, Bon Appétit.Com, Sunset Magazine.Com, and many others, share their recipes online almost as soon as their magazines hit the stands. As a result I am far more inclined to recommend Fine Cooking’s, Bon Appétit’s, and other’s publications and web pages.
I have always enjoyed working with bread dough and the deep-dish pizza dough is one of my favorites. It’s flavorful, has a fabulous texture, with a little cornmeal crunch, and does not require the turning and stretching that dough cooked on a stone requires. And because of the rich crust and tons of whole-milk mozzarella a little 9-inch pizza can feed two or three people. I doubled the recipe just to make sure I had enough but two pizzas would have been enough for my party of six. As one of my guests pointed out, had we served 6 teenagers they probably could have consumed all that I prepared.
The classic Caesar salad with Garlic Butter Croutons was a refreshing way to start the meal. I like to tear the croutons instead of cutting them into little squares as the recipe suggests. I think the jagged, torn edges get toastier and look more appetizing than the uniform little pillow shaped ones. The dressing and croutons can be made the day before so that all you need do is cut up the romaine lettuce and toss with the dressing and croutons just before serving.
The cured arctic char and the lefse (potato flatbread) are from a recent issue of Bon Appétit. I’ve now prepared this dish using Arctic Char, and Coho salmon, both equally delicious. The recipe also suggests trout fillets and I am sure would be excellent. The fish cures for two to three days in a mixture of salt, sugar, orange and lemon zest, chopped dill, mustard seed, and a splash of Aquavit. The dish is a revelation. Serve it sliced thinly on some flat bread with a little creme fraiche, onion and dill. Amazing.
It was a great meal and a great party topped off with two of our guests accompanying us on guitars while we sang an ancient version of Auld Lang Syne. And guess what? We were so satisfied with good food and conversation that we forgot to serve dessert! In fact the champagne sorbet is still in the freezer. Happy new year everyone.