Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whole Wheat French Bread Pizzas

I had a French bread in the freezer, and half a head of radicchio in the crisper bin. I know that doesn't immediately suggest pizza to most people, but it certainly uses up the odds and ends that accumulate in the fridge.

I bought a round of Brie for three dollars-insane, I know. It was dated 1 February, but when I cut into it, the cheese looked like it could have stood a few more weeks of maturation. Now I'm kicking myself for not buying more-that was a fantastic bargain.

When you make a French bread pizza, it helps to dry the bread out a bit before topping it and placing it under the broiler. 350 degrees F. for about ten minutes ought to do it-or just use stale bread. If the toppings are very wet, you may wish to go as far as actually toasting the bread first.

You Will Need:

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. mushrooms, trimmed and chopped (I had Baby Bellas)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel
1/2 head radicchio, trimmed and chiffonade
Splash of port
thyme/sage to taste
Hard Cheese thinly sliced (I used Pecorino Romano)

Roast the asparagus with a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper on a baking sheet at 425 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, turning frequently. Cook until lightly browned and shriveled.

In a frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions and lemon peel until onions are dark. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft. Add thyme and sage and salt and pepper. Add radicchio. Add splash of port, and increase heat to high. Cook until port has burned off. Reduce heat to low and cook until radicchio has wilted. Remove from heat.

Toast or dry out slices of French bread. On a baking sheet, lay out the bread slices and top with the mushroom mixture. Layer on the asparagus and then dot with cheese. Place under a broiler until cheese is melted and brown.

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