What a beautiful word and, surprisingly, not one I hear too often.
At its heart, Port and Fin is the story of two girls who love to eat and who forged a friendship from their mutual love for commensality. Sharing recipes. Sharing stories. Breaking bread (not to be confused with Breaking Bad, although we did make some pretty vibrantly blue popsicles at one point).
People bond over their commonalities- some play sports together, some shop together, some knit together. Chelsea and I, we eat together. 90% of our time hanging out is spent sitting around a table with a spread in front of us (when we aren’t stuck at our respective jobs sending each other random links throughout the day, that is. Especially these… read all 8 in order, it’s worth it for any Potter-phile).
We usually plan entire lady-dates around food. Game nights are really just code for ‘recipe testing with our
Guinea Pigs friends,’ hikes are code for ‘let’s get the dogs tired out and work up an appetite,’ and that’s not even counting the days we actually get together just to cook. Cake baking, pierogi pinching, wonton wrapping, salad roll rolling.
Pizza nights are great for sharing since you can make a huge variety and everyone can try (or not try) what they like. Best of all, since pizza is such a basic, universal crowd-pleaser, I find people are more likely to go ahead and try something they might not have otherwise. It’s just a slice, how bad could it be?
Take, for example, mushrooms. If you’ve read our About Us page, you’ll know I have stubbornly trained myself to like pretty much all foods. It’s the French method of if you don’t like something it’s ‘because you haven’t had enough of it yet.’
Once upon a time, I wasn’t really sold on mushrooms. I know, they’re so delicious, what was I thinking! But, it’s true. A true story of learning to love something (and I do really love mushrooms now).
It all started with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. If I picked around the actually mushroomy bits as a child and crushed a lot of saltines in it, it was one of my favourite lunches. Eventually, I learned that those little mushroom chunks were actually not too bad after all. Little chunks of flavour that tasted- fancy that- pretty much like the rest of the soup.
After that it was risotto. I’m convinced you could stir just about anything into risotto and make it delicious, such is the magic of the dish. Porcini mushrooms are even quite strongly flavoured, but even that could stop young Finn from devouring every last grain from her bowl of Porcini Mushroom Risotto.
The final straw, the moment I knew I was actually- gasp- a fan of mushrooms, was when I was over for dinner at a friend’s house… with her rather intimidating set of parents. First course was a morel mushroom broth. The brainy looking fresh (!) morels buoyed unappealingly like flotsam in the light dashi, but I knew I had to eat them. The matriarch had just spent the last 20 minutes explaining to me how amaaaazing and expennnnsive the fresh morels were so I had to eat them and I had to look like I enjoyed it. ‘Cause, you know, manners.
And I did enjoy it. Oh my god, I did. I didn’t even have to fake it.
As Chelsea said in her post yesterday, do you know how to ease a non-mushroom eater into eating mushrooms? Cheese. Lots of cheese.
Earthy mushrooms, gooey mozzarella, tart, creamy goat cheese and… roasted garlic! Talk about heavenly. Top with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of fresh pepper and a drizzle of truffle oil to really bring it home. It’s a pizza fit for mushroom lovers and people still on the fence about fungi- somehow it celebrates everything mushroom while still not reaaaally being in your face MUSH-ROOM, if that makes any sense? Probably not. You should probably just make it and not take my word for it.
Comfort food to share with friends 🙂
Chelseaaaaaa! Pizza night soon? Dumplings? Ooooh, do we do an international dumpling day where we wrap and roll everything from gyoza to pierogis to momos?! YAAASSSSSS. (that’s right, Chels, I used yaaaasssss. I stand by it.)
|Mushroom Pizza Bianco with Truffle Oil & Fresh Herbs|| || |
- Pizza Dough:*
- 1⅓ cups warm water
- 2¼ tsp instant yeast
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Coarse semolina, to dust
- 1 head roasted garlic**
- 1 onion, thinly sliced and caramelized
- Olive oil
- 3-4 brown cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup bocconcini (torn) or fontina (shredded)
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked
- Drizzle of black truffle oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make dough: Preheat oven to 200°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast has dissolved and mixture is frothy. Add in flour, sugar, salt, and olive oil; knead on a low speed for 5-10 minutes until dough has formed. It should be elastic and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with aluminum foil, and place bowl in the oven. TURN OVEN OFF. Let the dough rise in the warm oven for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Divide into two balls of dough, then use one for the remainder of this recipe. (Prepare another pizza with the second ball of dough, or store in the fridge for another night.)
- While the dough is rising, start caramelizing your onions. Heat a glug of olive oil and a small pat of butter over medium heat and cook onions until softened. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until brown, stirring occasionally.
- Remove dough from oven, place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet into the oven. Crank the heat on the oven up to 500 degrees. Let the stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven.
- Dust a flat surface with some coarse semolina and stretch out the portion of pizza dough you will be using. Take the heated pizza stone/tray out of the oven and transfer the dough directly on to it. This will cause the dough to start cooking right away, ensuring a nice and crispy crust.
- Top pizza with garlic, onion, mushrooms and cheeses. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the cheese and crust are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and top with thyme, rosemary and pepper. Finish off with a drizzle of truffle oil and serve immediately.
** I'm crazy about roasted garlic and like to keep a head in my fridge as often as possible. To roast a head of garlic, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top ¼ inch of the head of garlic, leaving the skin on. Pour a glug of olive oil into the sliced open top, wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool and the browned garlic toes should squeeze right out of their skin.