I adore the book “Three Men in a Boat” by the English writer Jerome K. Jerome. It’s just a hilarious book, in my book (haha sorry for playing with the words). When I was a boy, I would read it over and over, sure the translated version. Unfortunately, I haven’t read it for a long time.
If you’re familiar with this humorous book, you probably know one episode with the cheese. I don’t remember all the details about those cheeses, but I do remember they were….mmm….”mellow”… ehhh…”sophisticated”….and….mmm…”peculiar”, with the
strong overpowering penetrating flavors which made lives of the surrounded people unbearable. Finally, the characters managed to get rid of them, but the area they had buried the cheeses would earn a notorious reputation later on, for its refreshing air. I was laughing a lot reading that portion of the book although I wasn’t any familiar with those kinds of cheeses.
Why did I remember this story?
I like blue cheese! I cannot say I’m a huge gourmet distinguishing between their different kinds. Moreover, I don’t like really strong flavors – I prefer mild ones.
I love adding blue cheese in pasta, salads, polenta and on toasts. Indeed, I don’t need anything mentioned above to enjoy cheese:)
As for my Main Man, that’s the another story! For almost 10 years, he’s been stubbornly saying any blue cheese does sound obnoxious to him. Once, 5 years ago or so, I suggested him to try a meal with some blue cheese inside, and he got deeply offended. He told it was so gruesome to have even pronounced that “B-letter” word. I didn’t start that dialog for a while after that.
I guess I made my next attempt just last year when I was going to make a Kobb salad – the version where blue cheese was added in the dressing. My attempt was futile, but surprisingly he agreed. Later, he would say he agreed on that salad only because the dressing could be easily discarded. Importantly, it wasn’t discarded at all. I was so shocked with such a reaction that decided to get this stone rolling and made Chicken, pine nuts, and blue cheese pasta shortly after. And that happened – he told it was quite good. I was so pumped that a few weeks later I would make pasta again! In fact, having finished the another meal, he kept on saying he had just been craving for any pasta. Whom was he kidding, right?
All right. I took a long pause – it’s essential to introduce a new product gradually, isn’t it? However, this year, in April, when I was planning on some pizza, I suggested to top one of them with chicken, mushrooms, and blue cheese, with almost no hope. But again, surprisingly, that did work.
Perhaps, I’m exaggerating, but that seemed to me he had gobbled this pizza up. Or I just wanna think this way?
That’s not necessary to depict how delish that pizza turned out (in my book) – you’re the smart guys! The combo of chicken, mushrooms, and blue cheese is a very hearty and earthy one. I think this pizza should be served with some succulent and better neutral greens, to accentuate these strong flavors – spinach is a good choice! As for blue cheese, there are no limitations – just choose whichever doesn’t bother you and your palate:)
Do you love blue cheese, folks? Are you fancy any strong flavors or you like the characters of the book, won’t ever take any cheese it a trip?
Delicious, hearty and earthy pizza topped with chicken, mushrooms, blue cheese and garnished with spinach and pine nuts.
- Dough (makes two 10 inch pizzas):
- 2 1/4 cup white bread flour + extra for dusting
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1,5 tsp salt
- 3/4 lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp olive oil + extra for kneading
- 3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce
- 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken** torn into small pieces (one large skinless chicken breast)
- 1 1/2 thinly sliced button mushrooms
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 200 gr mozzarella cheese, drained and coarsely torn
- fresh spinach, to garnish
- pine nuts, tossed, to garnish
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and yeast. Mix the water and oil together and pour over the dry ingredients. Gradually combine all the ingredients to make a sticky dough.
- Flour the surface and knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes until it's smooth and elastic.
- Cover the dough with lightly oiled plastic and let rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten each ball and roll them out, using a rolling pin, on the dusted surface.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C), Place pizza crusts on two baking sheets.
- Divide and spread the pizza sauce almost to the edges. Scatter over the chicken, mushrooms, and blue cheese. Top with the mozzarella.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to golden and the crusts are crisp underneath.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with the spinach and pine nuts.
* This topping is enough to make two pizzas while the dough is enough for two large. You can easily take only the half of the ingredients and prepare another topping. ** You can cook the chicken in the water or saute it, as I did. To saute, heat 1 tablespoon of oil at medium heat and cook the chicken cut in pieces, for 2-3 minutes. Once the chicken is no longer pink, decrease heat, add one tablespoon of butter, season the chicken with some salt and pepper and simmer for the next 5-7 minutes.