I've been coming up with some creative recipes lately, mostly due to the fact that I'm taking control of our grocery budget and actively scouring the local sale circulars and farmer's markets even more closely. This week, frozen shrimp was buy one get one free and how on earth could I pass that up?
I didn't want to just do our usual shrimp scampi or shrimp stir fry, I wanted something new. So my brain percolated on that a little as I surfed my favorite foodie blog sites and eventually put together the idea for a Cajun Shrimp Pizza.
Please don't kill me, Italians, for slightly bastardizing your cuisine yet again. I love you!
My husband LOVES Cajun food, but I don't make much of it at home because:
a) it usually isn't that healthy and includes something deep fried; or
b) the ingredients are too expensive and difficult to find.
This was a fun way to get a bit of that flavor profile in a completely new way - and the best part?
I love to make bread-type creations and have perfected our favorite type of pizza crust. Seriously. My husband looks so sad whenever I try a different type of pizza dough, so I have given up and we only use this one. It is actually a foccacia bread recipe, but we like a breadier/denser pizza crust so it works for us. If you like a thinner more traditional pizza dough, then go for it. Just don't expect my husband to be excited about it!
I also throw together my own pizza sauce. Don't get too impressed, it is crazy-easy. I just whisk together about 2 tbsp. tomato paste with 1.5 cups of tomato puree (or sauce), sprinkle in salt, pepper, oregano, basil and a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat. Yep. That's it! Sometimes, when I'm feeling saucy (yes. recognize the pun and groan), I saute some shallots or garlic and toss that into the mix too.
I've been trying a lot of fun recipes this week and am looking forward to sharing them with you, so check this one out and look out for my next post - a meal inspired by a Bobby Flay Throwdown!
Cajun Shrimp Pizza
Ingredients for "Crust"
- 1 cup warm water (must be at about 100 degrees)
- 1 package dry active yeast
- 1/2 tsp. honey (I didn't have any this time and used sugar - worked fine!)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
Ingredients for Pizza
- pizza sauce (see above for quick recipe)
- 20-30 medium-sized shrimp (thawed)
- cajun seasoning
- 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
- 2 scallions (green parts only - diced)
- 1/4 red onion (diced -optional...I left this off since my hubs hates strong onions)
- 1 lb. mozzarella cheese
1. Step one is obviously to make the foccacia "crust". This recipe is so easy I'm close to making it in my sleep! Combine the water, yeast and honey (or sugar) and let it stand for 5 minutes. At first it will look like grimy water, then it will puff up and the yeast will bubble. This lets you know the yeast is doing it's job - hooray!
2. Next, stir in 1 cup of the flour and the olive oil and let it stand for another 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and salt (I always add about a tbsp. of dried rosemary for flavor too) and knead until smooth. I use my mixer and dough hook for this step, but you can do it by hand easily too.
3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Don't be discouraged if it looks like a sad lump of beige goo, it will rise and be gorgeous in about an hour. Vindication!
4. Use a nonstick 9x13 baking sheet (if yours isn't nonstick, be sure to oil it!) and spread out the dough. Leave little indentations with your fingertips and prick gently with a fork. Let rise again for about 30 minutes. Now you're ready to start assembling the pizza!
5. Ok, putting this pizza together couldn't be more simple. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the dough, being sure to leave enough edge for "crust handles". Top with the mozzarella.
6. Next, be sure your shrimp are patted dry before tossing them with the cajun seasoning, otherwise they will ooze out gross extra water on top of your pizza...ick! Once they are well coated with the seasoning, go ahead and sprinkle them all over the top of the pizza. Note that I used PRE-COOKED shrimp. If you have fresh shrimp (lucky!), just saute them with the cajun seasoning and olive oil until lightly pink before adding them to the pizza.
7. Ok, bring on the peppers and onions! Sprinkle them on top of the pizza and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the crust is lightly browned and the smell of the shrimp makes your mouth water.
8. Eat way too much of this pizza because it is freakishly addiction, recline on the couch and don't move for a good 2 hours while you bask in the glow of pizza-y Cajun-y goodness...ahhhhhh....