Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Make Your Own Mediterranean Pizza!

What Happens When Italian and Arabic Ingredients Collide? DELICIOUSNESS, THAT’S WHAT. 

Man, it has been a LONG time since I’ve done a post about wacky, weekend food creations. I’ve really slacked off in that department, and the fact that I’ve gone THIS LONG without detailing to you people how I fused two bizarre-o food groups into a singularity is absolutely inexcusable. Somewhere, there’s a Taco Bell menu offering that is just SCREAMING to be transformed into a casserole somehow, and when genius strikes me, I’ll be sure to let the masses know.

So, uh, pizza; it’s great. Similarly, hummus is pretty great, too, but very rarely do you see pies with Middle Eastern influences. I always thought that was more than a little strange, seeing as how Italy and the Arabic world are so geographically close together. OK, so looking at a world map, perhaps calling the dish a Libyan Sea Pizza or even an Ionian Sea Pizza is probably a bit more accurate, but what the hell ever; the fact that a product of an American high school system can even name some of the waterways of Eurasia is a minor miracle unto itself.

So, what is a Mediterranean Pizza, you may be asking? Well, think of it as what happens when Italian, Greek and, uh, Middle-Eastern cuisine have a three-car pileup on a circular sheet of dough. There’s hummus, there’s pesto, there’s feta, there’s black olives, there’s tomato chunks, and there’s some red (purplish-red, to be accurate) onions in the mix. You figure the outcome would be pretty great, but the reality here? Not only is the dish absolutely stellar, it’s arguably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Yes, even better than that grape-flavored Play Doh they used to make.

The ingredients, you’re probably wondering? Well, let’s take it from the top. You’re going to need some dough, but probably not that really awesome home-tossed stuff, because unless you have several hours on hand to adequately unroll that shit, it’s probably going to prevent you from eating the final product within the next 18 or so hours. Really, the world is your oyster as far as possible toppings, but the three things that are absolutely PIVOTAL here are pesto (preferably of the green variety), hummus (really, any variation will do, but I opted for a mix with some lemon and basil seasonings) and of course, white cheese. So much white cheese, your kitchen floor will end up looking like an icy tundra (because snow is often white, which is the same color of the cheese you are putting on your pizza.)

Regarding recommended toppings: portabella mushrooms are always nice, and you know I dig me some black olives. Ever the traditionalist, I reckon it doesn’t hurt to have SOME form of tomato included, so if you have some nice, pulpy maters, I say toss ‘em aboard. Remember: you’re just going to bury this stuff in mozzarella anyway, so who cares if it doesn’t seem like it will gel with everything else, anyway?

For our first go-around at Casa Internet-Is-In-America, we decided to vouch for a tic-tac-toe design, with one third of the pie consisting of just pesto sauce, another third consisting of just hummus, and the final 33.3 percent of the dish consisting of coalesced pesto-hummus sauce. There’s really no wrong way to divvy up the pie, so feel free to experiment with your food-sexuality all you want here.

Red peppers and feta aren’t huge favorites with everybody, but I’d suggest heaping them on the grocery list, anyway. They really give the overall pizza a tart and spicy kick that it wouldn’t have otherwise, and it really adds to the experience. Per me, anyway. And a nice side salad always goes well with homemade pizza; similarly, it gives you somewhere to chunk all of your excess mushrooms and peppers, too. BONUS FRUGAL POINTS ON THE SALAD DRESSING: we got it for a reduced price, simply because it was like three minutes away from expiring.

And lo and behold, el producto finale. It’s a downright gorgeous looking pie, and I assure you; as pretty as this thing looked, it tasted about twenty times better. Like, way better than even Totino’s frozen three-cheese pizzas, if you can believe it.

The ingredients seemed to gel a lot better than you’d think, with the nice, chunky texture of the hummus merging surprisingly well with that zesty green sauce. Similarly, the white cheese blend was downright exquisite in tandem with the red peppers and mushrooms, and when you take all of this together as a comprehensive experience, you get an absolutely delicious pie that’s worlds better than just about anything Pizza Hut or Domino’s will toss on your doorstep.

So, there you have it; when Sicilian culture runs smackdab into Kuwaiti cuisine (after taking a bathroom break in Athens), the end result is something so utterly yummy that I’m actually strapped for words to describe it. Really, really delicious? Well, that’s a lot of unnecessary qualifiers, but I’ll take it, I guess.


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