FRIDAY FISH: Cheesy Crab Mini Pizzas

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During the pandemic lockdown, my husband Dave (aka best sous) took to making my homemade pizza recipe every other week. We only ate half and so froze the second half in order to enjoy a fake take-out meal or no cooking night the following week. Pizza, wondrous on the streets of Naples, delivered from our local spot, or made right in my own kitchen’s oven, is probably my favorite food. In other words, doesn’t take much to convince me to bake it in some new guise or getup. As I planned this year’s Friday Fish meals, I thought about pizza but also had crab on my mind. It was either crab pasta or crab pizza and, well, you see what won! The question was, “How did I want to do it?” A really fast version featuring purchased mini-naan flatbread sounded fun and doable for all of you, too. Homemade pizza dough isn’t everyone’s thing, though it’s easier than it looks. Takes time is all. The naan— which is also available in a larger size should you want it, usually has its own display at the grocer somewhere around the bakery area but is widely available. Instead of waiting an hour or two for dough to rise and then trying to shape it into a manageable round (square? rectangle?), these little flatbreads come ready to grill and bake. They fit in the toaster, too. Add a few toppings, some cheese, stick it in the oven, and you have pizza. Even if you chop toppings and grate cheese, dinner’s on the table in under 30 minutes as the pizzas bake only 6-8 minutes. Have kids? They can make their own pizza. Do make your salad first!

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Summer Vegetable Tart

If you’re lucky enough to spend a little summertime in Europe, and particularly in France, you might see quite a stunning visual array of savory tarts, quiche, pizza, pissaladiére, Flammkuchen, Zwiebelkuchen, and many other pastries in bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. The pastry or crust fillings may include a little bacon or anchovy here and there, but often as not vegetables and/or cheese are the superstars. Baked before the day gets hot or in a blissful outdoor oven, these tasty light meals are the perfect hot weather treats served warm or at room temperature on their own or with a crisp green salad on the side. A little white wine? But of course.

Here in the states, we’re typically more into pizza across the board (a few quiches, too, I’ll admit) but lately I’ve been spying — and maybe you have, too –quite a few Tomato Pies showing up here, there, and everywhere while the ruby red tomatoes are coming in hot and heavy. (I will have to make one as they feature tomatoes and mayo–one of my warm weather favorite combos.) My tomatoes here in Colorado are still just barely ripening — and they’re all of the cherry or grape variety given our short growing season. But a slew of sweet Camparis on my counter found me searching for a French-style tomato tart I remembered seeing somewhere. But where? A little google mining brought me to Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa website and a reminder about Anna’s Tomato Tart, which is in Ina’s COOKING FOR JEFFREY book — right on my own shelf! Now I didn’t particularly want a tomato-ONLY tart, but rather had in mind something with a sort Provençal feel that included olives, fennel, mushrooms, peppers, and more. Anna’s tart would definitely serve as my springboard. Scroll down to read up on the late cook-caterer-writer, Anna Pump and her great store on Long Island– Loaves and Fishes. Links to other savory tart recipes included there, too.

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Super Bowl LV week has arrived in all its glory and, despite the American national religion of watching football not being one of my favorite ways to worship, I’m thinking this year might be different. During the nearly year of Covid-Life, we’ve missed a lot of our regular activities and that’s hurt; we’re shell-shocked across the board. But Super Bowl, the game’s yearly high holiday, will be mostly like it always has been. Not much has changed, hmmm? We’ll be at home gathered around the altar of the BIG TV. Cases of communion beer will be bought and stored in a cold garage; chili or pulled pork could be bubbling in the slow cooker to feed all who come; and tall bags of chips with deep vats of dips might triumphantly work to knock last month’s healthy New Year’s resolutions right into the gutter. There will, as always, be Monday morning hangovers for the Monday morning quarterbacks and, hard as it is to imagine, we’ll then soon be on to March Madness. But in the meantime, it’s life as usual and thank goodness! Even for the unenthused like me, it’s time to get ready for the game, prepare for the halftime show, and plan SUPER BOWL FOOD— everything from endless apps to favorite mains and football-shaped desserts! This year, I might even have a little bit different plan for that meal:

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Individual Shrimp and Feta Pizzas on Mini-Naan Flatbread (Baby Naan Pizza)

Americans consume more than 3 billion pizzas a year. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day and over a quarter of young males are eating it daily.

info courtesy

I’m wondering how many are homemade? A minute fraction?  (If you’d like, take a little class right here on the blog and make your own “regular” pizza right in your kitchen just like my student in the photo below.)

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Grilled Mini-Naan Pizzas with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese


If you google caramelized onions and gruyere, you come up with boo coo hits.  It’s a great pairing and if you lust after or think at all about French Onion Soup, you know this fact intimately.  Even on my Facebook feed in the last week, a stunning puff pastry tart with those same gorgeous ingredients kept surfacing.  I don’t know Jo-Anna Rooney, but she evidently blogs for Kendall-Jackson wines and came up with said oh-so-French tart. (Check out Jo-Anna’s tasty food when you get a chance.)

And while I have no truck with puff pastry, I’ve been looking for a new starter made on the grill for my next cooking class…Make it All on the Grill!  Dave–husband and faithful sous–thought a flat bread pizza might be fun or maybe he just wanted pizza. The more I thought about it, the more I knew most of my students would make the dough in the class, but perhaps never again open a jar of yeast. (I’m sure this doesn’t include you!)  I loved the idea of taking Jo-Anna’s idea for a quick version of this quintessential French tart and adapting it to a grilled flatbread pizza of some sort. Continue reading

Pizza Kebabs for The Big Game


I looked on the blog for my work pizza kebab “recipe” the other day–thinking it would be great for Super Bowl snacks– and couldn’t find it. I had posted it on Facebook, but hadn’t blogged it. Perhaps because you might not really need a recipe for pizza kebabs. On the other hand, you might never have thought of them either.  I had to search out the photo, get the date, and save it to iPhoto as I hadn’t even kept it. A very sorry management practice!

For part of 2014 and nearly all of 2015, I worked as a Jenn-Air and Dacor chef, demonstrating and teaching cooking techniques at the local high-end appliance store.  It was mostly great fun and one of the things that most interested me was the need to invent quick attractive-to-the-masses recipes.

cropped-cropped-wp_20150429_008.jpgWhile I often teach a cooking class about pizza, I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the time frame of my weekly demonstration. (And yes, in the class you do get to eat your work.  You also take dough home to try it out in your own kitchen. See below. I teach 1/2-sheet pan pizza-making. No special equipment needed. Feeds a bunch.) Continue reading

Pizza at Home with a Stellar Salad Class–No Special Equipment Needed


I’m not the best pizza maker in the family; that honor goes to my son Sean, who makes the most delicious pizza I’ve ever eaten.  Since pizza is my favorite food, that’s saying a lot.  So if I can make good pizza at home, anyone can. I’ve taught or made pizza to and with a few folks including parents and kids over the years and they, in turn, have made it with family and friends as it’s a fun group project. It’s simple for the solo cook as well. I made the first grilled pizza I ever saw back in the mid ’80s.  And you? Always wanted to make pizza? Frightened off by words like yeast or wood-fire?  Have an oven and a rimmed sheet pan?  You’re in business, about to eat well, and this post is for you!

Food and health guru, writer Michael Pollan is fond of saying,

“Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

While pizza isn’t exactly junk food as it’s often full of good things, it is highly caloric for the nutrition available. It’s also really easy to chow down on it.  If you make it yourself, you’ll be careful about how much you eat because you had to make it! Try making the salad first and eating it while the pizza bakes. You’ll eat less pizza.  Do include the kids: get them in on the baking; they love to make pizza and you’ll add a great skill to their arsenal of abilities. To say nothing of the positive memories.

This pizza, based on a Tyler Florence recipe, makes 12 or 15 pieces –enough for 4 to 6 people–and goes from start of dough to ready-to-eat in about an hour and a half.  Maybe less.  The dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas, so you could be prepping a second while the first bakes if you have a crowd.  It uses no special equipment like a pizza stone or pizza peel. In fact, if you don’t have a pizza cutter (the little gizmo handle with a spiffy wheel at the end), you are not in trouble; a knife works fine and perhaps better. You’ll need a large bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a saucepan, a jellyroll or half-sheet pan (2 for $8.99 at COSTCO), and a stove with an oven.  If you have  a standing electric mixer like a Kitchen Aid, that will help make the dough, but if not, your hands and arms will work just as well and you won’t have to lift weights that day. I give directions for both methods. You can also pick up fresh dough from your local pizza place or the grocery store (check refrigerated section), but it’s just as fast and much cheaper to make it.

If you’re not in tonight’s class, try this at home and join us that way:

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