January 20, 2011

J'aime le Pizza

In high school I had this French teacher who taught next to nothing of the language.   It was pretty much like hanging out at your Grandma's house, if she were French and lived in a classroom in the middle of campus.  We made crepes, watched dubbed Disney movies; she'd even bring in Petit Ecolier cookies as treats. Perhaps she thought all this would romance us into learning a thing or two, that one day something would click and we'd all flit around the classroom with a flurry of française issuing from our mouths.  Too bad we were all ungrateful teenagers who'd rather exploit our teacher's weaknesses than attempt at appeasing her.

Occasionally she'd put her stern face on and insist that we speak the language in class, this being our second year and all, and we'd respond with the one stock phrase we'd managed to retain - "J'aime le pizza."  It didn't matter the context or the question we were asked the answer was always "I like pizza".  We were a pretty hopeless bunch.  Truly, if there was any point in the next year of my foreign language career where I could communicate in full sentences, I most certainly have forgotten it all now.  3 years and nothing to show, besides a pre-programmed response declaring my feelings on pizza.

So here I stand, 10 or so years later, reciting this silly phrase to myself as I pull this pizza out of the oven.  The Thai peanut sauce smelling sweet and savory under the chunks of chicken and bubbling cheese.  Everything getting covered with a pile of shredded carrots, sprouts and green onions.  It's a pizza!  Covered in salad!  Pure genius I tell you.  But of course there was a salad on the side as well, lest we forget how January is all about being healthy and reforming our diets.

Chicken Satay Pizza 

If you've got a favorite pizza dough recipe, use it here, or if you have a favorite store bought dough, by all means.  I'm partial to this one from Peter Reinhart (although this recipe will make enough for 2-3 pizzas).  With some rotisserie chicken from the store and pre-made dough this is a cinch to whip up any night of the week, and a million times better than any of those frozen things. 

1 - 12" pizza

pizza dough

3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a few dashes of fish sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 large clove of garlic, grated

1 cup shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1 cup, packed, shredded mozzarella cheese
small handful cilantro, roughly chopped

1 small carrot, julliened
1/4 cup sprouts (spicy, alfalfa, mung bean)
2 green onions

With a pizza stone on the lowest shelf, preheat oven to 500F for about 30 minutes.  You'll want a super hot oven and an equally hot pizza stone to bake upon.

In a bowl mix together the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic.  Stir until the sauce is smooth and a spreadable consistency.  Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sauce with the shredded chicken and set aside.

On a piece of parchment paper - this will make it easy to transfer to the oven - roll the pizza dough out to a 12-inch circle.  Spread over the top the remaining sauce almost to the edges, leaving about 1 inch exposed.  Scatter chicken pieces, then cheese then cilantro over the sauce.  Transfer, using the parchment paper to assist you, to pizza stone and bake 15 minutes or until the crust is a puffed and golden and the cheese starts to bubble and brown.

Meanwhile, toss together the cut carrots, green onions and sprouts.  When the pizza comes out of the oven, top with vegetable mixture, slice and serve.


  1. I took Spanish in high school and hated every moment of it. We had to do a play in Spanish. I have no idea how I survived it. In retrospect, it would have been nice to actually have learned the language but at the time I didn't care. Oh, teenagers. The pizza looks excellent!

  2. This looks amazing! I must try it!