Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Different Kind of Pizza

So I'm coming up on my two-week anniversary working at the Chilmark Tavern and I must say I am thoroughly enjoying it. At first, I was rather skeptical since I had no prior experience at a fine dining restaurant. The Tavern decided to give me a try and have started me out as as busser. I don't mind it, though I must say that it is hard to go from being a server for a few years and then take a step back and start bussing again. 

The head chef, Paul O'Connell, has created a simple menu that incorporates several island-grown and island-raised ingredients. Comprised of a handful of appetizers, entrees and desserts, the menu's dishes are quite complex and meld together a variety of flavors. For instance there is a steamed and butter basted lobster that is served with a corn-basil chowder, smoked bacon, sweet 100 tomatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. I can't say that I have seen a lobster served like that elsewhere. I heard the manager, tell a customer that "its not a traditional lobster dish", and he is right. 

Aside from the non-traditional lobster, they serve the waitstaff dinner before the reservations arrive (I think I explained this a little in my last entry), most of the time its pasta, but today it was a different kind of pizza (sorry no photo... again).

It was baked on a large sheet pan, and cooked on a fluffy crust, more similar to a bread than a crust. Instead of a rich, robust tomato sauce it was served with a ricotta-basil or at least a ricotta-pesto mixture. It was topped with roma tomatoes and julienned ham. The bread was very thick, nearly an inch in some parts, but the cheese was evenly spread throughout. As I ate it, I thought about the ease in creating such a pizza and wondered if it would work the same way with tomato sauce and chunks of sun-dried tomatoes to add texture. I think it would. It might be similar to a lasagna in taste but definitely have a contrast in texture. 

I'm excited. I was thrilled with the pizza and I am thrilled to try it myself. However, I don't know how confident I feel about the process. Should I cook the bread first, or should I cook them together? I know that ricotta isn't like cottage cheese so it won't have a lot of excess liquid that would make for a savory bread pudding, but the tomato or the pesto might. I'll just have to try a couple of different ways and find out what works best.  

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