Friday Night is Paso Night!   Leave a comment

A "Classic" Dish Form the 70s? TF&C: Nasty back then in an "I'm too poor to buy real groceries" kind of way. Still Nasty Today!

At my house, we grill the pizzas and put whatever toppings happen to be in the fridge. 

First off, let me say that we cheat on the dough.  Who has time to make dough?  OK, maybe you do if you have enough time to read this stupid blog, but I’m too busy writing the dumb blog to make my own.   

There is something about the communal aspect of pizza that I love.  It is a dish that is meant to be shared.  Food of love and friendship.  That about sums up Friday evening for me, Ms. R and two great friends, B the Elder and his bubbly, lovely spouse T.

I am passionate about homemade pizza– it’s the improvisational jazz instrument of the kitchen.  All right, perhaps that’s a little too freakin’ artsy— even for my fancy ass.  Point is, you make of it what you will.  Whatever tastes good to you, go for it. 

Speaking of which, years ago, my college room-mate, BJ, “invented” Boiled Tuna Fish and Corn au Cannery (all right, that last flourish was mine).  Nasty you say?  Perhaps.  I don’t doubt he would have put it on a pizza had he thought to do that.  Years later I experienced the magic of corn and crab at a downtown NYC eatery– different, yes, but not so far removed from BTF&C.  The highlight of the dinner that evening for everyone, except Ms. R, was a creamy corn bisque served in a tall straight shot glass with a tiny (the size of a fingernail) deep-fried baby crab perched on the rim as if climbing in for a swim in the velvet liquid.  We dubbed it the “Fear Factor” dish.  Deep fried crunchy crab with a chowder chaser.  Ms. R crapped out on us having none of that nasty little crab on the rim– couldn’t do it, no way, unh-unh, no-how, “Hell to the NO!”  So when it comes to food are there any combinations that are too nasty?  Yep– even today, I won’t look at BTF&C.  But what about on pizza?  Anybody out there brave enough? Nobody on Friday night. 

I never really start out with a specific recipe of toppings in mind.  Usually, I grab whatever is in the fridge and just toss it on in crazy combinations.  Here, in no particular order, is what we used last Friday:

  • Sliced Red Onion
  • Diced Yellow Bell Pepper
  • Pesto
  • Sun-dried Tomato Ribbons
  • Domestic Prosciutto
  • Dried Salami thinly sliced
  • Sliced Campari Tomatoes
  • EVOO
  • Steamed Asparagus
  • White Truffle Oil
  • Mozzarella Grated
  • Goat Cheese Crumbled
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Julienne of Roasted Red Peppers
  • Kalamata Olives chopped
  • Crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • Pea Shoots (tossed on after the pizza is cooked)
  • Truffle salt (whoa!–a specialty item Ms. R found for me in San Francisco)

The randomness of the order is intentional as it is my habit to top the pizza with whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. 

There were four of us and 3 lbs. of pizza dough.  This is disgusting, but we just kept making pizzas all night till the dough was gone.  And there were NO LEFTOVERS.  Just as well we loaded up on the carbs as there were three bottles of wine that needed drinking and again— NO LEFTOVERS (heh-heh!). 

As for the making of the pizza, we stretched out the dough put it on a floured pizza peel and after dressing with ingredients onto a grill turned to a low temperature so as not to burn the crust while cooking the ingredients on top.  About 5-7 minutes per pizza.  The Key: shut the top of the grill for four minutes before peeking at the pizza and try not to walk away from that grill!

Bottles Popped? Primarily from Paso Robles.  

Lone Madrone Barfendel 2007.  Ah, the unfortunately moniker– Barfendel– from Lone Madrone.  A blend of Zinfandel (58%), Petit Syrah (24%) and Barbera (18%).  I loved this wine when I first tasted it last December, I don’t love it any less now.  It had focused, sharply defined berry flavors, soft yet balanced acidity, an elegant nose and more.  With a name like that, it had better be good and it is.  Rated ***

Adelaida Syrah 2003.  I didn’t really think we could top the Barfendel.  I would be– wrong.  Sweet and savory.  Hints of wood and earth.  And with 8 years of age, perfectly tamed tannins.  Rated ***1/2

Yes, we decanted both.  These wines are part of the reason that Paso is showing the world that they have arrived.  Years ago, I was a big fan of the wines of J. Lohr in the eastern part of Paso.  These two wines come from the Western and Southwestern parts of Paso where the nights tend to be cooler.  The best are bold, but they also have finesse.  And this needs to be said, these wines are distinctive from those you find in Napa & Sonoma– not better, just different. 

Note: I know that I have previously rated the Barfendel as ***1/2.  And yet, here I am with a *** rating.  This is more a reflection of the fact that the Adelaida Syrah showed just a little bit better– but the Adelaida Syrah is also twice as old as the Lone Madrone Barfendel and a completely different varietal.  So a comparison is not truly fair.  But stuff just happens, if you know what I mean.  If you get to Paso, don’t miss either of these two producers.   Also, the tasting room staff at both of these places were courteous, helpful and knowledgeable.  Need I say more?

Both of these are damn good PIZZA WINES.  I mean this in the best possible way.

Speaking of pizza… BJ, may have been onto something…

Daaaaaamn! This actually looks good!

Posted June 28, 2011 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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