Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thai Pizza- Inspired by Rochester Public Market
I have a new obsession- Rochester Public Market. Winner of the 2010 America's Favorite Public Market title, this place is a foodie's heaven. I visited the market today for only the second time in the fourteen years that I have lived here. The produce is abundant and inexpensive, and both times I was happy to score a whole basket of Asian pears for $2.50 since they are $2.00 for only one at the grocery store!
Two of my sisters and I talked and laughed as we swam upstream like salmon through the crowds of people with strollers, rolling carts, and bags full of already purchased items. It is a great place to people watch, as well as look for interesting food finds. One woman smuggled her little dog in (there are no dogs allowed for obvious reasons) by wrapping him up in a blanket and pushing him in a stroller. Really? You can't leave your dog alone for an hour or two while you are at the market? My sister Jen bought some amazing maple cashew granola. She pretended to balk at the price while the granola man gave his sales pitch, but as granola is one of her very favorite things- she was easy. As we walked away I told him, "You had her at 'hello.'"
My highlight was when my sister Linda urged me into a little Italian cheese shop called Giordana Import, Inc. I've never seen so many varieties of cheese in my life- all Mediterranean and unique. In addition they have Italian meats, olives, oils, vinegars, and other Mediterranean foods. They do specialty sandwiches and gift baskets too. This was obviously a family owned place with a grandpa singing in Italian and a little girl helping behind the counter. Everyone was warm and friendly and entertaining as I held my number waiting to be called. When it was my turn, I ended up trying a Stilton with lemon that I was in love with!! I bought a nice big hunk without caring at all about the price.
But I haven't yet told you how this trip to the market inspired tonight's dinner. One of my purchases was at the homemade sausage case. During my first time at the market, my dad had bought me some Italian sausage with onions and peppers and I had used it in my sauce. Very delicious! So I decided to get some more sausage this time. The Thai chicken sausage caught my eye, and not knowing what I was going to do with it, I bought a pound. The girls and I started brainstorming and when I said, "What about a Thai pizza?" both sets of eyes went wide and I knew I came up with an interesting idea.
So after some searching for ideas online, I came up with a whole wheat Naan pizza with peanut sauce, peanuts, Thai chicken sausage, green onions and fresh mozzarella. The peanut sauce came from a Paula Dean recipe and it made so much, I now have leftovers to make chicken satay. Tim, Gillian, Connor, and I all loved this pizza and I will definitely make it again. Next time, I think I will drizzle a little of the straight Thai peanut sauce over the top of the cooked pizza for some extra color and zing. And if you can't find Thai chicken sausage, you can always substitute cooked chicken breast.
**One hint I have for making Naan pizzas-- If you bake them in the oven, as soon as the cheese melts, transfer it to a pan on the stove and the bottom will get nice and crispy! Or you can cook the whole thing in a pan or panini maker. Just be sure to only cover it partially- just to melt the cheese but not completely or the steam will make it soggy.
Naan Pizza with Thai Chicken Sausage
For sauce: Warm half a 11.5 oz. jar of Thai peanut sauce with a can of lite coconut milk. Mix 2 T cornstarch with 2 T water. Whisk that into the sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.
Pour sauce on Naan, sprinkle with chopped unsalted peanuts, chopped grean onion, and cooked Thai chicken sausage. Top with shredded or sliced fresh mozzarella. Bake at 375 until cheese melts. Transfer to a pan to crisp bottom of crust. Drizzle with some of the leftover jarred Thai peanut sauce before serving.