Friday, August 22, 2008

Find the fish. Fishy, fishy

Last night the chef demonstrated making pizza dough and a classic pizza margerhita. He got the oven almost 700 degrees F with the help of some granite slabs and baked the pizza in about 4 or 5 minutes. The crust was thin, crispy on the outside and just a little bit chewy inside. He used thin slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella then topped the pizza with chiffonaded basil after it was done baking. It was nothing short of absolutely delicious. After we all tasted the pizza he said "okay, have fun" and we got to work on making our own pizzas using whatever inredients we wanted.

I decided to make a cream sauce with parmesan. I had to thin it a bit with warm water to be usable as a pizza sauce, but it was really rich and tasty. I topped the pizza with super thin tomato slices and caramelized onion, then a garnish of parsley. The other ingredient I used, which I regretted, was anchovies. I minced one filet and put it on after the sauce, under the rest of the toppings. My thought was that it would pair well with the other ingredients and add a nice, natural saltiness. The problem, and this is the really stupid part, is that I don't like anchovies at all. It was so silly, I don't know why I even put them on the pizza. The flavor was so fishy and overpowering (duh). The chef said that anybody that likes anchovies would love this pizza. Most people don't though, myself included. I'm going to make the pizza again sometime and I'll do the same thing except I will leave out the anchovies (obviously) and instead of parsley I think I will put the caramlized onions on top of the sauce then arrange a leaf of spinach with half of a slice of tomato on top. Dang it... it would've been perfect if I had just done that to begin with.

In about two weeks we will have our first practical test in this class, after we learn about and how to make risotto and a few other things. Apparently what will happen is we will all draw the name of a dish from a basket and we'll have a certain amount of time to prepare the dish from scratch and service it to the chef. An example would be: spinach fettucine with aglio e olio pomodoro, or pizza margerhita, etc. We'll have to make the noodles, dough, sauce, or whatever completely from scratch and then we'll be graded on the final product. It sounds like a lot of fun, I just hope I have some time to work on my techniques a bit before test-time comes.

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