28 August 2012

Peppered Bacon & Plum PIzza

Some foods are known for their pairings.  Chocolate & mint, peanut butter & jelly, bread and butter, salmon & pinot noir, bagels & cream cheese are a few renowned favorites.  But one fantastic pairing that you would never conjure up is bacon and plums.  I never would've thought it myself....I mean, what?  So imagine my surprise when munching away on my turkey bacon the other morning and I, in true foodie form, took a second bite before finishing my first.  This is how bacon and plum ended up in my mouth at the same time, and also how I ended up finishing my breakfast that morning.  And the morning after.  No big deal.

Since that fateful breakfast, I've been thinking of how to put these two items together in a really hot ticket dish.  So I turned to one of my favorite blank canvases and decided to throw them together on a pizza.  Brought to you now, with foodie fervor.

(Literally.  We just finished the pizza 20 minutes ago.)

So let me talk a bit about this pairing, because the rest of the pizza is so simple.  You may still be scratching your head at this combination, so please allow me to explain.  Plums are a crazy interesting fruit...tart but not too sour, sweet but not too sugary.  They have a nice semi-firm texture and are easily transportable.  Delicious when stewed, dried, baked or eaten fresh, they have a great versatility that I now believe is underrated.  As for bacon, you have an arsenal of salty and savory packed into a strip of fatty goodness.  Sure, if you overindulge you'll turn into a heart attack waiting to happen, but in moderation and with a bit of draining, you don't need to suffer the guilt.

In addition to the bacon and plums, there are few other ingredients that help create the fabulous flavor of this dish.  First, there is sharp cheddar cheese.  Not just any cheese, but Cougar Gold cheese....

Oh so good.  Cozied right up next to the spot of my heart forever reserved for Tillamook orange cheddar is the Cougar Gold white cheddar area.  Don't ask me to pick a favorite, for I never will.  While I could go on forever about this amazingness of this cheese, let me restrict myself to this recipe.  The sharp cheddar adds a tiny bit of melty goodness for binding along with a perfect tangy contrast that doesn't overpower.  If you dumped oodles on top, you'd lose everything in its pungent sharpness, but just a bit augments the flavor profile already occurring.

Last but not certainly not least is dried rosemary.  This little lingering flavor on the palate really leaves you with a lighter feeling in your mouth than meat and cheese, and just kind of hangs out on the end for your enjoyment.  You could leave it out if you're strongly opposed to rosemary, but I have no idea why you would be.  So delicious.

So if you're feeling like a new type of pizza pie, give this one a try.  You'll see why, guy.

Bacon Plum Pizza (serves 3)

  • 1 Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust or your favorite prepared version
  • 1/2 lb peppered bacon
  • 1 plumb
  • 1 c Cougar Gold or sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 c spinach
  • olive oil
  • dried rosemary
Prepare your pizza crust and spread on a pan generously coated with cornmeal or on parchment paper.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, poke the crust several times with a fork, then let the it rest to rise slightly.

Cut your bacon slices into thin strips.  Place in a medium pan, then place pan over medium-high heat.  Once bacon begins to sizzle, stir well.  Cook for a minute, stir again, and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium low.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until bacon bits are crispy.  Remove bacon from grease to a paper towel lined plate.  This method will give you extremely crispy bacon!

When oven is hot, place your crust in to pre-bake for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, quarter your plum and cut into thin sliced.  Roughly chop your spinach and grate the cheese.  

When pizza is just golden, remove from oven.  Brush with olive oil until well coated, then sprinkled with dried rosemary (we used about 1/2 tablespoon).  Sprinkle with cheese, then lay plum slices evenly over the pie.  Sprinkle with spinach and bacon to finish.  Place back in the oven for an additional 6-9 minutes, until spinach has shrunk in size and the crust is golden around the edges.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing, if possible.  Serve with chili flakes if desired.

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