Thursday, March 12, 2015

Garlic white pizza with roasted chicken, candied lemons, and spinach

I have so many moments in life where I will look over at my husband and think that right there is the best decision I ever made. For example, the other week we were at the Banff Mountain Film Festival screening in Boulder. We were watching a film about a ninety year old man who goes back to fish the rivers in France, where he fought in World War II. Him and his wife are sitting in France and he is telling her how much it means to him that he gets to show her the places he went in the war. In the next scene, he is being gifted a beautiful handmade fly rod by a man in France. It makes him cry. It also makes me cry. When he finally makes it to the river to fish, my husband and I are both moved to tears. Or at least I certainly am and Blake is pretty close. And I'm thinking how lucky I am to share this life with someone who also gets sentimental over an old man fly fishing.

Then the next week I'm watching Boyhood. At the end of a movie the characters are sitting in Big Bend National Park overlooking a sunset. The dialog goes a little something like this:

Girl: "You know how everyone is always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us."

Boy: "Yeah, I know, it's constant, the moments, it's just- it's like it's always right now, you know?"

Each of us uses our own frame to interpret things. My frame is eternally and optimistically romantic. This quote reminds me of how many times the moment has seized me with my husband. Those moments look something like this: turning the corner amongst red rocks to the most awe inspiring arch tucked 5 miles into the corner of the desert, sitting together on a mountain top able to see miles in all directions without another soul in sight, climbing straight up to a beautiful mountain lake and sharing a peanut butter and jelly, and camping surrounded by sheer canyon walls in the company of desert snakes, each other, and little else. All outdoors, all with my husband, I have been seized by the moment time and time again.

So there I go again letting another sentimental ramble get the best of me and making you listen. What does all of this have to do with pizza? Blake is 2 months from finishing law school and about to start prepping for the bar. It's a stressful time for him and stressful times call for us to be seized by little moments. I can't do much to ease his stress but I can feed him pizza and take him to get frozen yogurt. This pizza will most certainly conquer what ails you. Zesty and rich roasted garlic white sauce complimented by the slight sweetness of the candied lemons is most awesome. This pizza does require a little time to prepare each component but it's so very worth it. You can also prepare the candied lemons, sauce, and chicken the day before to have everything ready to go into the oven for dinner.

Garlic white pizza with roasted chicken, candied lemons, and spinach
Serves 3

Candied lemons (adapted from The Kitchn)
3 lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup sugar

Shredded chicken
1 chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Roasted garlic white sauce (adapted from Emeril) 
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

3 cups spinach
1/2 cup parmesan
1 (8 oz) fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
Pizza dough (a lot of grocery stores sell already made dough or you can use my recipe here)

*Read the whole recipe through first. You are going to get the next component going, while the previous is cooking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top of your garlic, wrap in foil, and roast for 50 minutes. Leave the oven on, after you take out the garlic.

While the garlic is roasting, peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler into long strips. Fill a medium sauce pan halfway with water and the salt. Add the lemon peels and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and drain.

In the same sauce pan, add cold water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and simmer on medium low for 40-45 minutes. Remove the peel with a fork and let them cool on a piece of parchment or wax paper.

While the lemon peel is simmering, prepare your chicken. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together the salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. Rub both sides of the chicken breast with seasoning. Your oven should still be at 400 degrees from the garlic. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Let cool and shred with two forks.

Increase oven temperature to 550, after you pull out the garlic and chicken.

When you put the chicken in the oven, start your sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk for a minute and then slowly whisk in your milk. Whisk for 3-5 minutes. The sauce should thicken. Once thick, put in a blender or food processor with roasted garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Puree on low.

Spray a 16" pizza pan or cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Roll out your dough a little larger than the pan. Fold in the edges for your crust. Spread your garlic sauce over the dough with spatula. Layer your spinach over the top of the sauce, then spread the chicken and candied lemon over the top. Finally, evenly distribute the mozzarella and parmesan over the top.

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