Salad and Prosciutto Pizza

Salad and Prosciutto Pizza is a sauceless pizza that is a refreshing complete meal.

Salad and Prosciutto Pizza
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bonappetit.com, February 2018)

Serves 4

1 lb. pizza dough (The Best Pizza Dough or store bought, at room temperature)
3 Tbsp plus 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic gloves, finely grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated and torn
6 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup pickled red onions
3 Tbsp sliced chives
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

Preheat oven and baking stone or baking steel to 475F on a convection setting, if possible.

Mix garlic and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl.

Divide dough in half. Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface. Transfer to a cornmeal dusted peel or cutting board. Brush the dough with half of the garlic-oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with a quarter of the gorgonzola crumbles. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the golden, puffed, and crisp all over. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Allow to cool before topping with salad so the lettuce doesn’t wilt.

Toss lettuce, remaining cup of Gorgonzola, pickled onion, and chives in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk vinegar and sugar in another small bowl, then, whisking constantly, gradually stream in the remaining 2/3 cup of oil. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Arrange salad on top of pizza crusts and drape with prosciutto. Slice into squares and serve.

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Grilled Pork Chops with Cane Vinegar Gastrique

My new recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with Cane Vinegar Gastrique includes the use of a Coffee Brine with Herb Salt. The brine makes the pork chops super-tender and super-juicy.

The Cane Vinegar Gastrique is an adaptation of a recipe Ample Bites saw in Lousiana Cookin’ magazine. The Cane Vinegar Gastrique adds a complex sweet, acidic note to the dish. When making the gastrique take care to do the reduction just prior to serving and be careful not to reduce the liquid to far or you will end up with a very tasty caramel.

Quarter the nectarines and soak them in the Pickled Red Onions for about 30 minutes before grilling them.

IMG_4612

Grilled Pork Chops with Cane Vinegar Gastrique
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

4 cups black coffee
1/2 cup Herb Salt (see previous Ample Bites post)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bone-in pork chops
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cane vinegar (such as Steen’s)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 grilled nectarines, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Pickled Red Onions, for garnish (see previous Ample Bites post)

24 hours before grilling prepare the brine by combining the coffee, Herb Salt and thyme in a gallon zip-top plastic bag. If the coffee is still hot add ice and allow the brine to return to room temperature. Add the pork chops to the brine and refrigerate. Remove the pork chops from the brine about 1 hour before grilling. Rinse the pork chops under cold water and pat dry. Just before grilling, brush the pork chops on both sides with olive oil and season one side with black pepper.

Heat grill to medium-high for direct cooking. Grill the nectarines, cut side down, until grill marks appear. Set aside and allow to cool before chopping.

In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the cane vinegar, honey, and agave. Reduce gastrique, stirring constantly until reduced by half. Let stand to cool.

Grill the pork chops, peppered side up, for 3 to 4 minutes per side.

To serve, plate one pork chop with a topping of grilled nectarines and Pickled Red Onions and drizzle with the Cane Vinegar Gastrique.

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Pickled Red Onions

Ample Bites has referred to this amazing garnish for Mexican dishes like tacos pescado, quesadillas, and tortas but somehow I have never published the recipe that I use. This was pointed out to me by several readers of Ample Bites. So, finally, here is Pickled Red Onions. The photo shows it prominently featured on Carne Asada Tacos.

Pickled Red Onions

Garnish

¼ cup water
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp agave
2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

Combine water, vinegar and agave in a small bowl. Add onion; toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain before serving.

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Carne Asada Tacos

The Carne Asada Taco is a simple and savory dish that is perfect for summer grilling season. The centerpiece of the Carne Asada Taco is flank steak or skirt steak, either of which is extremely flavorful. Flank steak is easier to find than skirt steak. The main difference between the two cuts of meat is that the skirt steak is thinner and tenderer. With proper marination, grilling technique, and cross-grain carving flank steak can be tenderized to a similar tenderness.

My favorite marinade is a combination of vegetables, a touch of soy sauce (as odd as that might sound for a Mexican dish), a touch of red wine vinegar, hot sauce and tequila. The flank steak can be marinated for a little as two or three hours but I get even better results by marinating overnight. The meat is tenderized by the acidity of the marinade.

The flank steak is best when grilled to medium-rare to medium. If the steak is too rare or overly well-done it will be slightly tougher but no less delicious. To grill to optimum meat temperature, use a grill on high (500F +), direct heat to sear the meat on both sides then reduce the heat to about 350F to cook to an internal temperature of about 145F. The searing process should leave a light char on the meat and it seals in the juices.

When and how the steak is carved is also critical to a successful outcome. After the steak is removed from the grill it must stand loosely covered with foil for between five and ten minutes before carving. This standing time allows the juices within the steak to redistribute themselves within the steak. When the steak is eventually carved use a technique where you cut across the grain and on a slight bias to yield slices of between 1/16″ and 1/8″. Using a very sharp carving knife will yield the best results.

Ample Bites serves the Cane Asada Taco in a whole-grain tortilla with pickled red onions (see earlier post for recipe), guacamole (see earlier post for recipe), cilantro, cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream and a couple of dashes hot sauce but the range of condiments and toppings is unlimited.

Carne Asada for Tacos or Burritos

Serves 6 – 8

1 1 ½ – 2 pound flank steak
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup tequila
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch green onions, green and white parts finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped or hand shredded
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Immerse and cover the flank steak in the mixture. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours or overnight.

Prior to grilling remove the flank steak from the marinade. Discard the marinade mixture. Pat the flank steak dry and bring the meat up to room temperature. Immediately before grilling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to coat both sides of the meat and then season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill to high (500F +).

Oil the grill grates and then sear one side of the meat for 2-3 minutes. Flip over and sear for another 2-3 minutes. Reduce the grill heat to medium (350F). Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip over one last time and cook until the meat reaches desired – medium-rare to medium (about 145F) is recommended.

Remove from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before carving. Carve cross-grain and on a bias to between 1/16” and 1/8” and serve immediately.

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