15 July 2012

Cinco De Mayo Pizza

This dish is another of my recreations of a meal we loved in Mazatlan.  They called this the Cinco de Mayo Pizza, and it was certainly a fiesta in our mouths!  Ay caramba.  

This bad boy is meaty, spicy and incredibly gooey.  If any of those three descriptors don't appeal to you, this is not your dish.  But if you began salivating just by reading those words (as I did), then this is about to become one of your all-time favorite pizzas.  Crisp bacon, spicy chorizo and jalapenos swim in a sea of mild and melty Oaxaca, a Mexican cheese very similar in consistency to mozzarella.  They come together for a deliciously unique pizza that will turn even the most wary of jalapenos into big fans.

I love pizza!

One of the things that the hubs prefers about our version to the one in Mazatlan is the reduction in the surface area grease puddles.  You know what I'm talking about....those little lakes of fat that form on top of the cheese and you end up mopping up with a napkin, unfortunately taking half of your cheese with you.  The trick to that is pre-cooking both the chorizo and the bacon, which I believe is key.  The improvements are three fold: 1) no grease puddles, 2) guaranteed crispy bacon and 3) a quicker oven time for a crispier crust.  Good things all the way around.

If you can find fresh chorizo, your taste buds will thank you.  We're lucky that our market makes incredibly cheap, insanely delicious chorizo in store.  However, any pre-packaged chorizo would be great as well.  If you prefer a more mild spice experience, this is the perfect way to mellow out this pizza.  You can even substitute Italian sausage if you really want to tone things down, leaving just a little spice from the jalapenos.

Please note the glorious pepper on that piece of bacon.  Yum.  Apple wood smoked bacon is great too.  

This recipe made a medium pizza that was the perfect size for these two foodies and our foodie friend, along with a side salad.  Feel free to double it for a larger crust or make two pizzas.  Leftover pizza, like a good wine, just gets better with age and this is no exception.

Cinco de Mayo Pizza (1 medium size pizza)
  • 1 Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 c tomato sauce or marinara
  • 2 c shredded Oaxaca cheese
  • 4 oz bacon, sliced
  • 6 1/2 oz chorizo
  • 1/3 c pickled jalapenos
Prepare your crust.  Shape on a piece of parchment paper lightly sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking.  Poke with a fork and set aside.

Place a large pizza stone or pizza tray in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  Place the bacon in a medium skillet, then set over medium high heat.  Bring pan to temp, then stir bacon and cook for another 30 seconds before reducing heat to medium.  If grease begins to pop from your pan before that, reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until bacon is cooked but not quite crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a small plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease.  Let bacon drain.

Dispose of grease from your pan and wipe with a paper towel.  Place pan back on the burner and turn heat to medium high.  Add the chorizo and cook, separating with a spatula, until chorizo is browned, about 3 minutes.  Remove to a second small plate lined with a paper towel and set aside to drain.

To assemble pizza, spread tomato or marinara sauce evenly over crust then generously sprinkle with cheese until evenly covered.  Top with chorizo and jalapeno slices.  Leave the bacon off for the moment.

When the oven is hot, pick up the pizza and parchment paper and set directly on the baking stone or tray.  You will want to leave the pizza on the paper to get it in, but the preheated pan helps you achieve a crispier crust.  Bake for 4 minutes until cheese is melted.  Pull out pizza and sprinkle with cooked bacon; bake another 3-4 minutes until crust is golden around the edges or to desired doneness.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

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