Seafood Party: Buffalo Calamari and Shrimp Flatbread Pizza with Arugula
So I'm sitting here watching the Browns vs. Ravens game and well, I needed something else to do. Watching this game is painful; I can't believe how bad the Browns are this year. Will we ever have a good football team in this town? Doubtful. All I can say is, I can't wait until the Cavs season, because so far Cleveland sports have not been that much fun this year.
Anyway, over the past couple weeks, even with going to school, I've caught the cooking bug again. So, every chance I get I try to cook something good up so we have good eatin' all week long. I always cook too much anyway, so we always have leftovers, which have been coming in quite handy on school nights when we're eating our late night dinner.
This weekend we were in the mood for seafood, so we decided to make some calamari and some shrimp flatbread pizza. The idea for the calamari comes from a restaurant I used to work at as a server and I have to say, one of the only things I liked about the place was the way they made a few things. One of those things was their calamari. They would bread and fry the calamari, hit it with some Frank's Hot Sauce, then sprinkle on some tangy banana pepper rings. The calamari was served with a side of blue cheese dressing and I'm telling you what, the combination of these flavors is excellent. The hot sauce is just spicy enough, but not too spicy, then the punch of tanginess comes through from the banana peppers. It's all brought together with the cool and sharp blue cheese dressing. So, I went ahead and made a batch up at home. There's really no recipe, just do the following:
1. Get some frozen calamari already cut into pieces for you, thaw it
2. Cut it into rings if it's not already done for you
3. Dredge it in flour, then egg wash, then panko bread crumbs
4. Fry them at 360 degrees in canola oil until golden brown.
5. Put them on a plate and hit them with some salt
6. Drizzle on some Frank's hot sauce
7. Sprinkle on some chopped banana peppers
8. Serve with a side of bleu cheese dressing.
Easy. ...and very, VERY good. Perfect food to eat with a beer (we had a delicious Great Lakes Oktoberfest) and watch the game.
Now let's move on to the Shrimp Flatbread Pizza. MMmmmm just look at it...
This pizza is light, fresh, and perfect for an appetizer, lunch, or dinner. I came up with this recipe from several inspiring recipes. Mark has made shrimp pizza in the past, plus I saw an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network, and Aida was talking about a flatbread pizza she loves that's topped with fresh greens right when it comes out of the oven. It sounded like such a great idea and a good way to get more greens into our diet. And so was born this pizza.
To make this pizza, start by making the dough (see how to make our pizza dough here). Next, infuse some olive oil with some minced garlic. Just heat about a half cup of extra virgin olive oil in a pan over low heat and add two big cloves of minced garlic. After you really start to smell the garlic aroma, add your shrimp to the pan. Season the shrimp with sea salt and pepper and only leave them in the oil long enough until their just done. Remove the shrimp from the olive oil, and put them on a plate. Set aside. Next, pour the garlic infused olive oil into a bowl and set that aside. This will be the oil you paint onto the pizza crust later.
Next, in the same pan, add a little more olive oil, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add some sliced shiitake mushrooms and cook long enough to get some color on the mushrooms. Remove then from the pan and set aside. Then, in the same pan, add about a half cup finely chopped shallots and saute until they too get a little color. Now remove them from the pan and set aside. Now, shred up some mozzarella and parmesan cheese, as much as you want to use, and also chop up some fresh oregano and basil. Alright, we're ready to assemble our pizza:
Roll your dough out and get it on your pizza pan or screen. Paint on the garlic olive oil until the entire dough is covered.
Sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese.
Now sprinkle on the shallots.
Next add the mushrooms.
Now add the shrimp.
Next, the herbs.
And finally, the parmesan cheese.
Pop it into a 450 degree oven for about 13 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to brown on top.
While the pizza is baking, get some arugula ready by rinsing it off with cold water and drying it. Also, quickly throw together some shrimp sauce. (Oh, and by the way, if you are a Benihana fan, THIS is THE shrimp sauce recipe... yeah that's right... THAT one. You're welcome.) The recipe is at the end of this post.
When the pizza is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a board to slice. While it's hot, sprinkle on some arugula so you basically have a salad on top of the pizza. Slice the pizza after it has rested for a few minutes, then hit it with some of the shrimp sauce. It's really delicious and I can tell you that it's also good cold seeing as I just walked back into the kitchen and grabbed another piece. :-)
Now, back to the Browns game. Oof, they're down 34-3 now... Uh, it's tough to be a Browns fan. Have a great rest of your weekend!