I got a phone call the other day. It went like this:
“I love your pizza dough! I’d eat it every day. But I’m sick of pepperoni, plain cheese and ham and pineapple. Do you have any ideas for how else to top our pizza’s?”
To which I replied, “How many hours do you have. 300 ideas enough?" followed quickly by “Just kidding! What do you have in your fridge?”
And that’s just it – topping a pizza in different ways should not be terrifying, challenging or tax your brain. That’s what I love about pizza – the versatility, the forgiveness, the fun!
So what did I recommend to my pizza topping searching friend?
The answer to “What do you have in your fridge” yielded Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, as one of the items.
So how would the pizza man handle leftover Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings on a pizza?
In answer to this, you have to consider what the root cause of Pizza Fatigue is. Often it’s
How much can you do with tomato sauce and cheese? Just adding a different topping is not doing it for me anymore!
Of course! Change the sauce!
The trouble is, for any kind of chicken topped pizza (traditional BBQ chicken anyone?), the sauces often end up overpowering the end product – I, personally, can only take so much of Frank's RedHot or Bullseye before I can’t taste the other flavors or experience the textures, like I want on a pizza.
So here was my solution, for my pizza weary friend, using the leftover Chicken Wings from their fridge.
Trevor's Pizza Salt and Pepper Chicken Wing Pizza
1. Start with a doctored up base of non-traditional sauce. With something like Frank's RedHot sauce, use either in scant quantity or mixed with something else to cut it's overpowering intensity. In this instance, I suggested a little melted butter, some minced garlic and then Frank's to taste. That goes on the stretched out pizza dough and is your first level of moisture and flavor on the crust. I lean toward less heat/spice here, just because you can always add more when you are munching your pizza. If it's overpowering right off the bat, you can't take it away.
2. Next, the salt and pepper wing meat, shredded and distributed evenly. Make sure any skin bits are facing up and able to be exposed to the heat, for that extra crispiness.
3. Onto the cheese. Cheers to the legions of bar goers who love a blue cheese dip with their wings! Apply a scant…or healthy…dose of blue cheese depending on your tastes. Being careful to put only so much as to highlight the chicken and hot sauce base, but not enough to over power the first two layers of flavor.
4. The last step before baking - a scant sprinkle of shredded cheese, something that allows the blue cheese to come through (mozza is just fine). Just enough to hold the toppings in place for the eating. I hate it when the toppings fall off my pizza with each bite! They're your melted, gooey/crispy exquisite topping safety net.
5. After baking, the optional, finishing touches. A drizzle or dipping bowl of ranch dressing can spark things up. Or a little sprinkle of fresh chives or green onion can kick things up as well.
That's it! And now you can use this formula for anything else and the options are endless! A little sauce for moisture and the first subtle level of flavor, a distinctive, well seasoned topping(s), a complimentary cheese(s) and your finish – a little garnish, herbs, drizzle of sauce or oil or....use your imagination.
For me, TjTheFoodDude, this way of looking at a pizza topping opens up a universe of topping ideas, not limited by tomato sauce, mozza and pork products. Not that I don't love those too. I’ve got ideas galore for any combo of “boring” toppings and I love them all. But I love the creativity of turning any combination of leftovers into exquisite pizza’s.
And that’s why I never get tired of pizza. Not. EVER!
Cheers! And Happy Pizza Making. And Eating!