|Right Food for the Season - Late Fall|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut; home to Yale University, the Peabody Museum, and, in the opinion of many, some of the nation's best pizza. In a May 2009 piece for the Today show, GQ Food and Wine critic, Alan Richman, rated Sally's Apizza and Frank Pepe's, two staples of the New Haven pizza scene, as numbers 6 and 12, respectively, in a list of the nation's Top 25 pizzas. Each one has a distinct style, decór, and taste, and each one also has seen a substantial amount of my salary come through their till over the years. There is one other place, though, a few blocks away from these two establishments that inspired me to give the following pizza a try. The place is called BAR. As a young professional living in New Haven, I frequented BAR first and foremost for its outstanding, brewed on-site, craft beer. The AmBAR Ale was a favorite of mine. Slowly but surely, however, the pizza became almost an equal draw. Both the beer and the pizza are as straightforward as the name that hangs above the front door, and both are worth a trip to the home of Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. One evening at BAR, a friend suggested a mashed potato and bacon pie. I was skeptical. "Bacon makes everything better" was (and remains) an absolute truism in my opinion, but mashed potatoes on a pizza was suspect. I think my palate and food sensibilities at that point in my life were a bit unrefined to say the least.
When the pizza arrived, perfectly fired from the brick oven, it only took one bite to make me a convert. I was sold. So, some 14 years later, as I stood in my kitchen holding an uninspiring pizza take-out menu, I thought back to BAR, looked at my groceries from City Feed and Supply, and thought WWWPD (What would Wolfgang Puck do?) The following is a recipe for a roasted garlic, caramelized onion, bacon, and purple potato (Pete's Greens, VT) pizza.
Pizza dough [method]
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 strips of bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
4-5 cloves roasted garlic [method]
2 medium purple potatoes, cubed, boiled, and mashed
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
The work of this recipe is in the prep of the toppings.
Roasted garlic: Follow instructions above.
Bacon: Cook until it is just shy of your preferred doneness; it will finish up in the oven.
Onions: Cook in the same sauté pan that you used for the bacon. The onions will caramelize nicely in the bacon fat, but you may want to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil if the pan is too dry. Once the onions are soft and a nice golden brown, sprinkle with brown sugar and cook for 1 additional minute.
Mashed purple potatoes: Boil the cubed potatoes in a medium saucepan until soft. Drain and return to the saucepan along with the milk. Mash potatoes and and season with salt and pepper.
With the toppings done, and your pizza crust rolled out into a 12"-14" round, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the crust. Next, spread the roasted garlic and mashed potatoes to cover the crust. Finally add the bacon and onions, and another drizzle of oil. Bake for about 20 minutes or until it looks done. Take pizza out of the oven and finish with a sprinkle of romano cheese.