Smoky Cheese Addiction : Part 2

by Marina Chotzinoff

Often when my husband and I sit down to eat a home-cooked meal, one of us—usually the head (or sole) chef of the night—will ask, casually, what would you do (quietly implying “if anything”) next time? We are good at giving honest and productive advice and I like to think we also take the criticism well. Alternately, growing up, my dad would often fish only for compliments in what became known as “how’s the soup?” If enough proper praise was not doled out the first time, you could be sure he’d ask again, maybe in a different way. I have experienced that need myself during the “what would you do next time” sessions when I am feeling pretty good about myself and my creation and I only get a “it’s good.”

But today, preparing and eating lunch with just my mom, it is safe to say that with this third delectable use of the smoked blue cheese, I reached meal perfection. There is absolutely nothing I would do differently next time and I did not ask my mom that exact question, so let it just go down in history as an amazingly perfect meal to be made, as is, again and again.

To recap, I had recently purchased some smoked blue cheese and had devoured it on wheat crackers with apricot jam and folded into a creamy polenta with garlicky greens and mushrooms. What I knew in my soul, though, was that this cheese was meant to be served with figs and pecans (possibly in a variety of ways) and so I settled on flatbread.

As I was stuck at home all day with a sick kiddo, I bribed my mom with a luscious lunch IF she brought me fig jam, a lemon, and some of my favorite pizza dough from Whole Foods. Had I not been so impulsive I would have made the overnight, more yeasty dough I’ve been wanting to try, but this had to happen today, so WF whole grain dough it was.

When the goods arrived, I cut the dough in half and tried this brief microwave proofing trick I had just read about. Do not do this. Or do it better than I did. One edge of the dough totally started cooking and I had to cut it off and salvage the rest. I rolled the dough out to about 1/4 inch, brushed it with olive oil, then sprinkled it with the smoked cheese. I put it in a 500 oven until the cheese and dough edges were browning. About half-way through I spun it around and used a basting brush to brush the separating oil of the cheese onto the outer crust.

While the crust was cooking, I mixed about 2 T fig jam, juice from half a lemon, 1t. dijon mustard, 1 t. balsamic vinegar, s&p then whisked in olive oil until it made a thick, emulsified dressing. I then stirred in a few spoonfuls of ground, toasted pecans. I tossed a large handful of mixed greens with a few sliced, dried figs and a sliced green onion with the dressing, then topped the pizza. One quick grind of fresh pepper and it was good to go. And so very, very divine.

    2 comments on “Smoky Cheese Addiction : Part 2

    1. Gordon F Dirksen on said:

      How scrumptious (sounding) to someone that has never had fig jam or would have thought that was what was needed to complement smoky blue cheese. Great fun.
      (I still think that you should have asked your mom the question.)
      I don’t even know what a capcha phrase is!!

    2. Kristin Lundgren on said:

      I thought this pizza was very creative and extremely yummy. I fear I fail to give you enough praise when praise is due as you nearly always surpass my expectations. I now expect the extraordinary as normal. This seemed to be a light, yet satisfying meal which would also be great for small plates served at happy hour. I was delighted to be the initiate of these goodies. Thanks muchly.

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