I’m giving this pizza four stars. One for every slice of it MG polished off last night. And they weren’t small slices, either. They weren’t even reasonable slices. These were some seriously wide and weighted down wedges! You really have to respect MG’s tenacity. He gets the job done!
Underneath that deceptively simple asiago/mozzarella cheese canopy are hiding chunks of shiitake mushroom, aromatic fennel, tangy tomato, onion, and thick cuts of spicy salami. I had complete confidence in all of these ingredients with the exception of the fennel. I’d never used it in a pizza before, and I was worried its flavor might overwhelm. No need to fear. This pizza was all sorts of savory, rich, and meaty, with just pings here and there of fennel sweetness.
I snatched up this recipe from My Year on the Grill, who is in the opening weeks of his Pizza 2011 Project – 52 unique gourmet pizzas in 52 weeks. If you’re looking for something other than the standard default pepperoni pie, this should be your first stop. And if you see no need to deviate from the traditional, he’s also got a couple suggestions for how to gussy up the classics!
Ever heard a pizza talk? This one had quite a bit to say (and no, for those of you who follow this blog regularly and might be wondering, it’s not Bond music in the background, but it’s close. It’s Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack for The Incredibles).
Salami with Fennel and Asiago Pizza from Year on the Grill
For the sauce:
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
4 shiitake mushroom buttons, cut into thin slivers
1/4 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Pecorina Romano cheese
1/4 white onion, diced (I added this to Year on the Grill’s recipe)
Combine everything in a sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Year on the Grill suggests then using hand mixer and blending to a thick paste, but I kept it as is – nice and chunky!
For the pizza:
1 stick salami of your choice. I used Columbus Brand Herb Salami
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Pre-made pizza dough (or if you have the time to make your own, click here for a recipe)
Salt and pepper for seasoning, along with any additional spices of your choice
olive oil for brushing the pizza dough
Preheat oven and pizza stone (or heavy baking sheet) to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the salami into slices about 1/2 inch thick, then cut these into quarters. I halved them and left it at that.
Cut the fennel bulb into thin slices, separate the rings
Grate the asiagio cheese
Roll your crust out on parchment paper to your personal preference. Brush Olive oil around the edges. Salt and pepper the crust. Top with your sauce, fennel, salami, and both your cheeses. Add any additional seasoning and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. If you notice the side closer to the rear of your oven browning faster, turn pizza midway through the cooking.
Pull your bubbly pie out of the oven, and watch it dance and sing as it cools. Give it close to ten minutes before you cut into it. Enjoy with someone you love!