Friday, August 5, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Pizza

Every now and then, Ty and I will luck into an invitation to my Aunt Robbie and Uncle Tom's house for pizza night. It's a night of delicious homemade pizzas and "fellowshipping" with old friends.

Here's what happens: About 15 people get together at Robbie and Tom's. Tom starts assembling pizzas, with a variety of toppings. Fresh from the oven, homemade pizzas arrive on the table every 10 to 15 minutes. We eat pizza until we've all completely gorged ourselves.

Tom's pizza is amazing. The crust is super thin and slightly doughy. I know a lot of work (and bravery) goes into pizza night, so I'm especially grateful when we get an invite. I mention bravery because pizza dough has always intimated me. There's so much good pizza in the world, what makes me think I could do it better than the pizza place down the street, who's business is specifically to make pizzas? Or forget doing it better ... doing it at all might be the more realistic obstacle.

I don't find dough necessarily difficult to make, but I figure it to be one of those rogue ingredients. You can never fully trust its next move. You think you've made a beautiful dough, then you bake it and it swells to monstrous proportions, comes to life and eats you instead. See, I'm really scared of dough!

 {Photo courtesy of Annie's Eats}

But then I saw this picture on Annie's Eats, and it beckoned to me, "Trust me. Make me. Enjoy me." And for a split second (which is all it takes to set my mind to something), I was convinced into thinking I could make homemade pizza. For starters, I've made several of Annie's recipes and they never disappoint. I was thrilled with both the Buttermilk Chive Biscuits and her Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. Next to Southern Living, most of my favorite recipes come from Annie's blog. It doesn't hurt that her photography is so beautiful that it's almost edible!

What I enjoyed most was that Annie's blog walked me through each step of the process and answered difficult questions. So, rather than post the recipe here, I'm going to share links to her blog where you can find the same helpful tips.

Here's how it went. I made my dough the night before and put it in the freezer until the morning. This keeps the dough from rising, turning into a monster and eating you instead. The morning of the day I was going to make my pizza, I pulled the dough out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator. When I got home from work that evening, I put the dough on the kitchen counter to rest for 30 minutes and then started shaping my pizza.

I am in deep concentration as I work on my dough. Ty thought we needed a nice action shot for the blog, so he snapped this for me. He probably thought you all wouldn't believe me if you didn't see it for yourself! 

In the meantime, you quickly cook your shrimp, just until they're opaque. If you cook them longer, then throw them in the oven on the pizza, there's a good chance your shrimp will turn out rubbery. This was my second greatest fear in making Cajun Shrimp Pizza ... monster dough and rubbery shrimp sound like quite the disastrous duo!

You assemble all ingredients: Annie's pizza sauce, mozzarella and Romano cheese, diced red onion, green onions, red bell pepper and the shrimp. Then bake for 10-12 minutes, spending most of that time praying that your pizza does what it's supposed to do! 

I suppose I prayed really hard because mine turned out beautifully despite all my fears. 

Don't let all the components of homemade pizza intimidate you because delicious things await. Now that I've gotten my first pizza under my belt, I can't wait to start hosting our own pizza nights!

Here are links to Annie's blog:

Be brave and bake on!


Cynthia said...

That looks wonderful! I checked out that food blog. I may have to look into some of those recipes. :-) I like a food blog called How Sweet It Is. I love her photography, writing style and sarcasm. Her 'sweet' recipes are usually pretty sweet, though, hence the name How Sweet It Is. She is definitely unique! But, I could definitely go for a Cajun style pizza! Thanks for sharing!

Erin said...

As Vivian says in Pretty Woman: "Well done! Woo Woo Woo!"

The pizza looks awesome. If you ever need anyone to taste test, I'm your gal :).

Stephanie Jordan said...

Cindy, I'll have to check out How Sweet It Is ... sounds delicious!

And Erin, it just so happens I was looking for pizza testers!!