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The Plastic Spoon: Cuban Pizza

Making some form of delicious food has kind of like a butterfly effect. No, I don’t mean that there’s a tsunami and 45,000 people die. Fear not! No one dies in this scenario (The Plastic Spoon: Death Free Food Since 1984). I mean a butterfly effect in the sense that something small can have a HUGE impact. An extremely easy to make meal can stick in someone’s mind as wonderful for the rest of time. On the opposite side of that coin, I can’t eat at Burger King anymore because I always seem to get sick or have a car wreck after getting their food. Fear not! No car wrecks in this scenario (The Plastic Spoon: Traffic Accident Free Food Since 2003 [HEY! Nobody’s perfect.]). The two simplest yet most versatile foods around are sandwiches and pizzas. ANYTHING can be a sandwich. KFC proved that in recent history when they made a bacon and cheese sandwich with two fried chicken breasts as the bread, and if you don’t believe that pizza isn’t a versatile food option, walk into a CiCi’s Pizza. You’ll see pizza choices like BLT, Taco, Chocolate, Mac & Cheese and Apple Streusel. It’s for this very reason that when faced with the question “If you were forced to eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”, my answer is always pizza. So for the purposes of this article, I made a pizza out of my favorite sandwich: The Cuban.

THE CUBAN PIZZA

Pulled Pork

Deli Sliced Ham

Deli Sliced Provolone Cheese

Shredded Provolone Cheese

Store Bought Pizza Crust (THIN)

Hunter’s Carolina BBQ Sauce (Recipe to follow)

Dill Pickle Spears

Ya know how when you were a kid and you’re playing with Legos? And you start to build something big, but you didn’t think about that before you started? So you have like three tiny Legos trying to support this MASSIVE structure, but then it topples like the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl against the New York Giants? Do you see what I’m driving at here with this analogy? That’s RIGHT! Tom Brady sucks. Good job. That…and the basic building blocks HAVE TO be good to begin with. For pizza, that’s your crust and your sauce. The Cuban sandwich is a majestic concoction of ham, pulled pork, provolone cheese, mustard and pickles on a hoagie roll which is pressed onto a Panini grill to give it a nice crunchy crust. Because of this, I decided to go with a thin crust for the pizza, so you can still get the crispiness of that Panini pressed roll. Then, comes the sauce. Mustard goes on the sandwich, but the idea of covering an entire pizza in just mustard made my taste buds revolt and try to escape. After brokering a peace treaty, I decided to use a mustard based BBQ sauce. This is a popular variation that tends to come from North and South Carolina.

Hunter’s Carolina BBQ Sauce

1 Cup Prepared Yellow Mustard

½ Cup Light Brown Sugar

¼ Cup White Vinegar

¼ Cup Honey

Take all of those ingredients and dump them (or place them ever so delicately if you’re so inclined) into a sauce pan. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil. Then, let it simmer for around 5 minutes. Pull it off the heat and cool it down. Now, you have your two base building blocks. Time to build (WE BUILT THIS PIZZA ON ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!).

I followed the directions on my pizza crust’s packaging by preheating the over at 450 degrees. Then, I scooped a couple of spoonfuls of my Carolina BBQ Sauce onto the pizza crust and spread it around until the sauce was about half an inch away from the edge of the crust. Next, I covered the sauce with the deli sliced ham followed by the deli sliced provolone. On top of that, I scattered a good handful (or two [or three]) of pulled pork. Finally, I put more provolone cheese, but, this time, it was the shredded variety. After consulting the previously mentioned pizza crust packaging, I dropped the oven temp down to 425 and set the timer for 8 minutes.

Here’s a fun fact about cooking that everyone tends to forget. They REALLY aren’t kidding on food labels when they say “Cooking Times May Vary Depending on Oven”. I prepared this particular pizza in a kitchen that was not my own. Eight minutes was about a minute and a half too long. It came out a little more dark than I would have liked, so I was worried. Remember this tidbit if you should ever find yourself baking in a strange environment. Keep an eye on your food.

Once I pulled the pizza out of the oven, I placed one dill pickle spear on each potential pizza piece. That’s one pickle per piece of pizza. Possibly more, but probably not.

After taking my first bite of the Cuban Pizza, my fears of an over cooked pizza were put to pasture. The reason I love the Cuban Sandwich so much is because of all the different textures and flavors happening simultaneously. I managed to get all of those to happen but in a different format. The crispy crunch of the crust, the tanginess of the mustard based BBQ sauce, the sourness of the dill pickle, the hits of pepper from the pulled pork and the creaminess of the provolone cheese are all present and accounted for. They work together like Ocean’s 11 to rob a casino (but if you add one more or two more ingredients, it’s never as good as the first one [see what I did there {I said that Ocean’s 11 is good, but the two subsequent sequels aren’t as good}?].), but the casino is your mouth, and they rob it…of…a bad meal? I don’t know. That Tom Brady analogy was better. This pizza is better than Tom Brady.

 

Also, let’s just revel in the awesomeness of all of my alliteration in this article (also a bit of assonance in this sentence).

Posted in: Gonzo
Geeks






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