Charcutepalooza: Fresh Bacon and Pizza

Charcutepalooza: Fresh Bacon and Pizza

I have never taken part in a blogging challenge or event before, but when I heard about Charcutepalooza, I knew I had to participate. Charcutepalooza is the brainchild of two food bloggers, Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy. Each month for a year they pick a recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s excellent book, Charcuterie, and the participating bloggers, try that recipe and blog about their experiences. Charcuterie is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time so this was a no-brainer for me. The first topic was Duck Prosciutto in January, but I found out about this challenge too late for that. However, I hope to circle back some time during the year and try the duck prosciutto. For February the topic is the salt cure. You can choose from one of two challenges: The Apprentice which is fresh bacon, or the Charcuterie Challenge, pancetta or guanciale. I choose bacon, and to be honest it felt like a bit of a copout for me at first. I have been curing and smoking my own bacon for years now, since i first bought Ruhlman’s book. I have even posted about it on his blog, here and here. Ideally, I would take this opportunity to expand my horizons and try the pancetta or guanciale. However, logistical reasons and time constraints prevented me from going that route for now (I know… excuses, excuses). So I started this out a little disappointed in myself since not only was I going with the bacon, but I was not even smoking it, because my smoker is buried under 173 inches of snow right now! My disappointment...
Grilled Pizza Puttanesca

Grilled Pizza Puttanesca

I was going to include this pizza in the same post as the Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes I featured recently. At the time I was just topping it with chopped olives and capers and it was very good that way, but I still felt something was lacking. So, I held off on sharing the recipe, while I tried to improve it. I think what I eventually came up with, the addition of chopped anchovies and sautéed onions, really takes it to another level. Once again it is a good idea to read our Grilled Pizza article before trying this recipe. Grilled Pizza Puttanesca Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 40 min Makes 2 pizzas 4 anchovy filets, chopped 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced 15 pitted black olives, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons Capers, rinsed and chopped 1 28 oz can imported Italian plum tomatoes 2 large basil leaves, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced salt & pepper to taste freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese extra-virgin olive oil for brushing 2 balls of grilled pizza dough Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add anchovies and onion and sauté until onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add olives and capers and cook for 1 minute more to combine flavors. Transfer mixture to a bowl. In a medium bowl, crush tomatoes with your hands, and stir in basil, garlic, salt & pepper. Set up olive mixture, crushed tomato sauce, parmagiano, and olive oil at your grilling station for easy access. Prepare a charcoal grill for grilling pizza creating a very hot fire...
Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

I recently came across some delicious cherry and grape tomatoes at my local farmers market. I was planning on making some grilled pizza and as soon as I tasted them, I knew that they had to go on least one of the pizzas. I did two versions, one replaced the sauce completely with the tomatoes, cut in half and charred on the grill, and one had the sauce and the tomatoes. Both were amazing but I preferred the one with just the tomatoes, mostly because it is different. Before trying this recipe I recommend reading our detailed set-up and technique for grilling pizza, which can be found in our Grilled Pizza article. Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 40 min Makes 2 pizzas 20 cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved salt & pepper to taste 2 balls of grilled pizza dough extra-virgin olive oil for brushing freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks 4 large basil leaves, torn into pieces by hand Place tomatoes, cut side down, in a oiled grill pan. Grill over direct heat until tomatoes are slightly charred on top, then transfer them to a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Set up the bowl of tomatoes and the other ingredients at your grilling station for easy access. Prepare a charcoal grill for grilling pizza creating a very hot fire on one side with couple of layers of charcoal just a few inches from the grate, and a low fire on the other side with just a few coals. Oil...