In South Florida, we get the luxury of exploring different ethnic foods on a daily basis. Miami-Dade gives us Little Haiti and Little Havana. Our grocery stores have isles dedicated to ingredients for meals used in other countries. Our neighbors can make a pizza that looks foreign to us, and yet, we can accept it because we are South Floridians.
But what sounds out of the ordinary – even in South Florida – is honey on pizza. Nevada native Cody Salinas – who discovered the Fat Kids Club through Twitter, is an experimental foodie when he’s not working at his day job or singing in five different choirs. Honey on pizza is a west coast thing, he says, and he discovered it after a late-night drunken feast nearly five years ago at The Blind Onion Pizza and Pub in Reno where they keep tubs of honey on the table like it’s ketchup for a burger.
Photo courtesy of Cody Salinas
This week, after getting into a debate with a co-worker about pizza toppings, he created the Candied Bacon and Caramelized Alfredo Pizza.
When he told me about his ventures, I felt proud of him. Trying new recipes is not only something I encourage, but something I preach. But part of me was sort of taken aback when I saw the recipe. Spinach? Feta Cheese? Artichoke hearts? Was Salinas creating a salad, or a pizza?
He admits that yours truly helped inspire him to create the recipe, but that it also came in part when he opened up his refrigerator.
“I don’t plan my meals much,” says Salinas, 25. “I tend to improvise with the ingredients I have available.”
But sir, it’s PIZZA!
“Pizza, in my opinion, is one of those foods that turns out okay if you don’t have a plan.”
Is it because I’m used to tradition? Is it because I’m comfortable with the way South Floridians have adapted to New York-style pizza? Is it because I think that when people put non-traditional toppings on a pizza, they call it gourmet, and I don’t like that word… gourmet?
It’s all of the above, actually, and in my attempt to break free from the norm even I am used to, I’m hoping other South Floridians will tag along and try Salinas’ recipe.
Candied Bacon and Caramelized Alfredo Pizza
Serving Size: Makes one 14″ pizza.
This sauce is über easy to make but if you’re in a
hurry, simply use a pre-made Alfredo sauce found in
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Stick unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup grated Parmigiano
½ Cup Honey
2 Cans of Pillsbury Pizza Dough (13.8 oz)
Honestly, you could make your own dough and it
would be great – but I personally love Pillsbury pre-made
pizza dough. It’s soft, fluffy, and fantastically
easy to use.
And Everything Else
1 Pound of Finely-Cut Bacon
1 ½ Cups Honey
1 Tbsp Tarragon
1 Tbsp Cayenne
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
2 Cups Mushrooms, Stemmed and Thinly Sliced
1 ½ Cups Feta Cheese
2 Cups Fresh Spinach
½ Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
½ Cup Pickled Artichoke Hearts, Sliced
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Photo courtesy of Cody Salinas
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
For the Alfredo sauce, add ½ cup of honey to a pot. Let it caramelize until it has become bubbly and golden brown. Add the heavy cream and butter. Stir and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add the grated cheese into the sauce and cook on medium heat until the sauce is a nice, not-too-thick consistency. Feel free to add more honey, cheese, or cream to thicken or lighten the sauce. Set aside.
Combine the two cans of pizza dough and roll out until roughly ½” thick in the center. Make the circumference of the dough thicker, preferably one inch. Hefty crusts for this pizza are necessary. Place the formed dough on a pan and set aside.
In a large pan pour just enough olive oil to cover the entire surface. Next, add the tarragon, cayenne, parsley, garlic powder, butter, a pinch of salt and a bit of freshly-ground pepper. Add the 1½ cups of honey and mix well. Cook on medium heat for three minutes until the honey begins to caramelize.
Use the excess honey/bacon drippings and pour into the Alfredo sauce, heating until the mixture until it becomes thoroughly mixed. Once the sauce is heated, scoop the Honey Alfredo onto the pizza dough. Don’t be shy about loading the stuff on. Give your dough some love.
On top of the Alfredo, add the Feta cheese and spread across the dough entirely. Atop that, place the spinach in a way that looks like a comfortable resting place for the other ingredients. Spread the “Candied” bacon across the entire pizza. Next, add the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. For good measure, add a handful of feta on top.
Place the pizza in your oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Depending on your altitude, you may need to extend cooking time to 33 minutes. When finished, drizzle just a tiny bit of honey across the top of the pizza. Serve, and enjoy!