carnage

so it’s been a while since i’ve posted something, you know, useful and culinarily-focused.  such items are usually known as recipes, and apparently i used to show you how it all went down.  well sure, let’s do that again.

although, first things first: following up on the very urgent matter i posted on last week, i feel it my civic duty to bring your attention to THIS.

moving on. pizza!  this guy showed up in the July Bon Appetit and it was love at first sight:

Phyllo Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella and Cherry Tomatoes
from Bon Appetit, July 2010

Ingredients

  • 12 to 13 ounces cherry tomatoes and/or pear tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 12×9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup (packed) coarsely grated smoked mozzarella cheese* (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup quartered pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano

*Also called mozzarella affumicata; sold at some specialty foods stores and at cheese shops. If unavailable, use regular (not fresh) whole-milk mozzarella.

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and oregano in medium bowl. Scatter tomatoes on large rimmed baking sheet; roast until soft and beginning to collapse, about 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let tomato mixture cool. Maintain oven temperature.
  • Place stack of phyllo sheets on work surface and cover with plastic wrap, then damp kitchen towel to prevent drying.
  • Brush another large rimmed baking sheet with some of melted butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet on baking sheet. Brush lightly with melted butter and top with second phyllo sheet. Brush with butter and top with third sheet; brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Repeat 3 more times for total of 12 phyllo sheets and 4 tablespoons Parmesan. Sprinkle stacked phyllo sheets with grated mozzarella, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with roasted tomatoes, pepper strips, and olives.
  • Bake pizza until phyllo is crisp, 25 to 27 minutes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons fresh oregano over, loosen pizza from sheet with large metal spatula, and slide onto cutting board.

one slight problem: i’ve never worked with phyllo dough.  i had grand plans to pick up all my ingredients at the store, and come home and whip up this pizza pie lickety split.  Until the box of phyllo laughed evilly at me as I read “let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours, then at room temperature for 3.”  REALLY.

Because I do not accept defeat..ever…I regrouped and conquered the beast a day later.

As far as pizza goes, it’s pretty straight forward. Chop up all your toppings, roast the tomatoes (which was slightly obnoxious on a weeknight), and assemble.

And then the phyllo had it’s second good belly laugh.  You must create the crust layer by layer, paper-thin piece by paper-thin piece.  Ok fine, brush them with some butter, layer layer layer.  Got it. Except my phyllo (which at this point i’m entirely convinced is possessed by dark forces) didn’t defrost and separate as exquisitely as I’d anticipated. It was usable–there was only one section that had fused together–so a little patchwork reconstruction and VICTORY.

But this hard-fought battle was not without its casualties.  Please have your children avert their eyes.  The aftermath is a little unseemly.

the poor spoon, the poor salt shaker. they had no idea what was coming for them.

back to the pretty stuff: this guy’s ready to get toasty!

a nice little makeover in a 400 degree oven can do wonders for your complexion.

you are just so be-u-tiful. ze camera, she loves you.

Despite the triumphs and tribulations, this was a tasty little bugger.  Real tasty.  In an effort to maintain (or grasp on to the remaining parts of) sanity,  I think next time I’ll try it with some puff pastry that’s already assembled. (full disclosure: never used those bad boys either. get ready for some more carnage.)

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