Maine Shrimp Pizza with Avocado and Tomatoes
Maine shrimp are back again, so when I got a request from Elise for pizza last night I knew what I was going to do. Maine shrimp are really special, and I've posted quite a few recipes about this inexpensive but delicious seasonal wild-caught delicacy (see sidebar) because they work so well in so many ways and our chances to use them are limited by their short winter season.
Maine Shrimp Recipes on Stephencooks.com:
Flounder and Shrimp Roulades;
Haddock and Maine Shrimp Stew;
California Roll Salad;
Poached Haddock in Wine Sauce with Maine Shrimp;
Maine Shrimp Boil;
Shrimp and Creamy Grits
We weren't disappointed by this attempt. The combination of the delicately flavored Maine shrimp with avocado and the sweet, flavorful grape tomatoes was perfect, and fresh mozzarella, garlic and basil added the requisite cheesy/herby notes I like in my pizza.
The crust for this pizza, by the way, was made with King Arthur Bread Flour, instead of my usual King Arthur All-Purpose, after I read Elise's post about homemade pizza the other day (thanks, by the way, to Elise for linking to one of my pizza posts, and congratulations to her too, for winning Best-in-Show in the "Best Food Blogs" awards event!) in which she tells us that bread flour will result in a crisper crust. The result was in fact crisp, but the crust was thicker, lighter and "breadier" than I like, so I'm not jumping on the bread flour bandwagon yet. I'll be making another pizza in a few days with bread flour, using less and stretching it out more to be much thinner, to see if I can get a crust that's crisp but not too bready. I might, in fact, have to do one of each, invite in some friends and have a flour-off. Stay tuned!
1/2 recipe pizza dough
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 T tomato paste
3/4 lb (cleaned weight) Maine shrimp, deheaded and peeled
20 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
2 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
1 oz fresh basil, shredded
salt, hot sauce to taste
After the dough has completed the second rising, spread 2 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, the basil and the tomato paste on the shell. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake on a preheated stone at 450º for 1o minutes.
Meanwhile, wash the shrimp and dry thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the pizza shell has baked for the first 10 minutes, add, in this order, the cheeses, the avocado, the shrimp and a mound of tomatoes in the center. Lower the temperature to 400º and bake another 8 minutes. Raise the temperature to the maximum available on your oven and broil for 2 minutes about 6" from the heat source, with oven door open. Keep a careful eye on the pizza during this final step and be ready to declare it done if burning threatens.
Brush the crust with olive oil and scatter on a few torn leaves of basil before slicing and serving. Fresh ground black pepper would be a nice addition, even though I can't use it myself.