Friday, May 15, 2009

Tamale Pizza...

This week just flew by - I can't believe it is time already for another Friday Night Pizza! The recipe I made for tonight, Tamale Pizza, was definitely one of the simpler ones we have prepared lately, but it was quite interesting for a meatless pizza!

While we fully cooked our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough before we even topped it for that Strawberry Pizza last week, this time it only went in naked for a quick five minute or so pre-bake. When you take it out, be sure to give it a flip so the lightly golden side is up and what was the top side, will now become the bottom. This will help the crust retain a crispy quality since the toppings are on the heavier side and have more moisture.

The first layer we spread on the crust is a combo of smashed chili beans that we laced with chopped green chiles. Chili beans are beans that have been cooked in a light chili sauce and usually come in a variety of intensities - we chose hot since we love a little burn, but we noticed that they do come in medium or mild too. While we drained away most of the liquid as we typically do with canned beans, with these you won't want to rinse them completely clean as you want to retain some of those juices they are packed in!

After giving the crust a hefty smear of the robust spread, the next topping to go on was corn kernels, followed by shreds of mozzarella and sharp white cheddar, a smattering of sliced scallions and meaty nuggets of Roma tomatoes. Since the crust is already partially baked, it needs to bake just long enough to warm through the toppings, making the cheese bubble and brown in spots. Just before serving, we thought a scattering of chopped cilantro would be an appealing way to add a a little freshness and contrasting pop of color on top.

Since we usually aim for a thin, crisp crusty (though there have been exceptions!), we did opt for the twelve ounce version of the dough, but you could of course up that to the pound version for more of a chewy crust. I was a little weary since I've actually never used this type of canned bean before, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the result! Jeff commented that the beans had just a slight kick instead of being "hot" as advertised (I'm guessing a lot of that heat went down the drain?), but he noted that was actually good since it worked as a satisfyingly thick backdrop to the corn and tomato, which in turn didn't get lost in the mix!

Tamale Pizza

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