Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Casey Cooks for Me (Fig, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, and Arugula Pizza)


Normally mys sister, Casey, and I like to cook together but we’ve both been really busy this summer and she travels a lot for work.   Well, our schedules opened up to hang out last Friday night and she offered to make me dinner.  Of course I jumped at that.

She made a fig, goat cheese, prosciutto, and arugula pizza.  She’s made it a couple times and has been raving about it so I was excited to try it.

This is the recipe she followed:

  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • Fig Spread (recipe below)
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 2 oz. prosciutto
  • Tow generous handfuls of arugula (gently tossed with olive oil and sea salt).
  1. Preheat the oven to 525 or 550 degrees F.  (Use a baking stone if you have one).
  2. Place your pizza crust on a lightly floured pizza peel (or the back of a lightly floured aluminum sheet pan).  
  3. Spread some fig spread on the pizza crust; enough to coat it but not too thick.
  4. Dot with crumbled goat cheese, then put the pizza into the oven (either on baking stone or a pan).
  5. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted, about 5-8 minutes. 
  6. Take the pizza out and top with folds of prosciutto and a mound of dressed arugula.    

Fig Spread
  • 4 oz. dried, black Mission figs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine or ruby port
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized.  
  3. Add the figs, balsamic, and red wine, scraping up any brown bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan.  
  4. Once the wine is almost evaporated, add the water and sugar.   Simmer to reduce until the water is mostly evaporated and the figs are soft.  
  5. Pour the mixture into a food processor (or blender) and puree to the thickness you desire.  Remove.   (You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge for a couple days.)

The pizza was excellent.  I would definitely make it; in fact I am craving it already.   I really liked the pizza flavor and instead of having a side salad, the salad was kind of on top.   It was a great balance of flavors. 
So, I tried really hard to just sit back and relax but I had some ideas that I thought would make the pizza better and couldn’t help but to offer up some input.   Thankfully, Casey was open to it and thought the ideas were an improvement.  

Add Cayenne pepper to the fig spread.  Casey is similar to me in that we both like a little heat, so of course cayenne pepper was added to the fig spread.   It was really good that way because the fig spread is pretty sweet, so this allowed for a sweet and spicy thing going on.   As I think about the fig spread, I might even consider adding garlic with the onions to add another layer of flavor.  Oh, and I might use honey instead of sugar. 

Brush crust with olive oil and pre-cook for 3-4 minutes.  Put the crust in for a couple minutes to start the cooking process before you add any toppings.   When I do this, I brush the whole thing with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.   (Make sure to go all the way to the end of the crust with the olive oil so that the crust gets golden and has extra flavor with the salt and pepper.

Put the prosciutto on to cook with the goat cheese.  I though the prosciutto would be better if it was cooked with the pizza instead of added at the end.  Casey decided we should do a taste test and so we put prosciutto on half.   We both liked the cooked prosciutto better.   It got a little crispy and added a deeper, more robust flavor.  

Play with the ingredients.  I think you could also use blue cheese or gorgonzola in place of the goat cheese for a different flavor.   Also, the fig spread could be used on a cheese plate or in a sandwich too.  Lots of possibilities!

We had bubbly with the pizza.   It was actually a sparkling Gruner Veltliner (Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Brut N.V.) from Austria.  I really like Gruner Veltliners, especially with food, and I love bubbly so it was fun to have the combination.   I thought it was a good pairing.   The bubbly was light and refreshing and provided a good balance with the peppery arugula and heat of the cayenne. 

A family that cooks together, or for each other, stays together.  Cheers!

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