Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Croque Madame Pizza with Spinach and Prosciutto
All the loveliness of a croque madam sandwich only better. Because it's pizza y'all.
If you've never had a croque madam, let me tell you what you're missing. Take the best ham and cheese sandwich ever assembled, smother it in a gooey, cheesy beschemal sauce, then broil it until the top is perfectly golden, yet molten and bubbling underneath THEN top the whole thing off with a perfectly fried egg so that when you cut into it, the golden yolk dribbles down over the whole thing, uniting the creamy cheese, salty ham, and slightly sweet bread as one celestial being.
Croque Madames are the single reason you can drink until 7 in the morning in Cannes, then get up at noon and do it all over again. The key is to get one from the Gutter Bar (actually a Croque Monsieur, sans egg) right before you pass out.
Anyway, this pizza captures all of the love and lust of a great croque in pizza form. Instead of slaving over a beschemal sauce on the stove, a similar flavor and texture is achieved through combining goat cheese, parmesan and sour cream (or creme fraiche) together as a spread in addition to fresh chopped spinach which turns it a whimsical, Emerald Isle color.
Of course this pizza would be delicious even without the egg and prosciutto, but if you're going to go to France for the evening, why not live a little?
1 round homemade or store bought fresh pizza dough
1 cup (packed) finely chopped fresh spinach
4 oz goat cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
lots of fresh grated nutmeg (scant 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup parmesan, plus extra for garnish
3 tablespoons sour cream (or ricotta or creme fraiche)
pinch red pepper flakes
olive oil, for drizzling over cheese spread
2 eggs, set out for 10 minutes
4-6 slices of prosciutto, or as much as you like
Divide the dough in half (you don't have to - but it looks cuter when each pizza gets its own egg in the center versus 2 eggs on 1 larger pizza.)
Roll each pizza out to your desired thickness and transfer to an aluminum lined, non stick sprayed baking sheet (2 if necessary.)
Preheat oven to 425.
In a medium bowl, combine the chopped spinach, goat cheese, salt, lemon zest, nutmeg, parmesan, sour cream, and peppers until well blended. You can do this earlier in the day if you like and keep the mixture covered in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.
Spread the mixture out onto your prepared dough, either with a butter knife or using your fingers - whatever works for you. Try to get it as evenly across the dough as possible but don't worry if it clumps up in places as long as some of it is anointing the entire dough.
Bake at 425 for 5-6 minutes, JUST until the edge of the crust begins to set (whiten) but not yet becoming golden or crispy. Remove the pizzas and whop up the heat to broil (500). meanwhile, working quickly but carefully, crack an egg right over the center of each, then carefully (slowly so you don't sling the egg off) but immediately return to the oven now set on broil on a high shelf. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the edges are golden and the egg has 'set' (is no longer a wobbly mess when you lightly shake the pan. It's okay for the yoke still to be a little runny - in fact that's the goal - but you want the whites cooked and the crust and cheese to be nice and golden.
Remove and immediately cover with a bit more parmesan cheese and little strips of prosciutto torn up with your fingers - as much as you like.
Let sit another minute to finish setting the yolk, then slice and serve. Voila!