|Pizza made with French bread and a few of my own unique, personal twists that put it over the top.|
French Bread PizzaA few days ago I went to Walmart for one of those bigger trips that usually involve multiple pet products and various and sundry household stuff. I couldn't resist picking up a few more Pioneer Woman goodies while I was there - these adorable little measuring cup bowls and some of the kitchen towels this time.
It's still fascinating to me that Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman has gotten to where she is from starting as just a small blogger who, like most of us, were mostly talking to ourselves in the beginning. I remember her having photo caption contests, sharing a story based on her romance with Marlboro Man and giving away stray gift cards from her junk drawers.
Now she's put said romance into a novel, written several children's books and cookbooks, has a whole line of her own products, a television cooking show and is opening a general store and deli in a little over a month. It's the stuff dreams are made of and I'm sure she must wake up and pinch herself every morning. Clearly she's much more ambitious (albeit also younger) than me!
Still, I feel a connection to Ree's beginning days, and have actually met and talked with her at a blogging conference long before all of that stuff happened, though I'm sure she doesn't really remember me from Adam's housecat. I do love her kitchen line though - it all has a vintage motif and y'all know how I feel about my vintage - from recipes to dishes to well, me!
Anyway, as I was shopping, I heard an announcement that hot, French bread was available up front. Now what kinda gal can resist that?
Anytime I hear the words "hot French bread," I can't help but thinking back to a memory Mama used to share from back in the days when she was a young girl, living on The Point. It's an area in Biloxi many of you may now know as Casino Row, where The Palace, Harrah's, Golden Nugget casinos and Margaritaville Resort now are, with Beau Rivage up the road a bit and Imperial Palace and Boomtown around the corner on the Bay. And the new Scarlet Pearl across the Bay.
Hurricane Katrina pretty much wiped out the residential aspects of Point Cadet, though there are a few homes scattered about, my cousin's being one of them. I suspect eventually that area from the Bay around to the beach will soon be fully commercial.
Mama grew up right about in the middle, and a few blocks west was the old Desporte's bakery on Crawford, where the bread was baked fresh every morning in their old brick ovens, shipped from overseas I had heard. My grandmother would send the kids down there to buy fresh French bread for supper and Mama said they would often get extra to have some hot bread to eat on the trip back. I totally blame Mama for inheriting this love of all things bread that I have had all my life!
Truth is, that loaf I picked up could have easily been eaten right then and there too, every bit of it, but when I got home I tore off a small hunk of the still warm, super soft bread, buttered it and savored every single bite. I held a little restraint though, serving some with dinner later and setting aside the rest in an airtight container.
Those leftovers became this Saturday night. Is it any surprise I am also addicted to all things pizza?
Now, first off, I know of course there's nothing unique about French bread pizza - we've all made it. It's tasty and faster than homemade dough or even delivery (and certainly cheaper than that - have y'all seen the prices on delivery pizza these days?), especially since the ingredients for a pepperoni pizza are something that I pretty much always have on hand in the freezer or the pantry. Most folks just layer pizza sauce and toppings on French bread and that's mighty good indeed, but I think that I prepare mine just a tad bit different than most.
I like to split the bread lengthwise and then use a rolling pin to flatten it both lengthwise and side to side. It makes it less like bread and more like dough. Then I coat the bread with a modified version of my garlic bread butter blend, which adds a little flavor and creates a barrier for the sauce so it doesn't seep through down into the bread. Then I prefer to precut the loaf into serving sized pieces before adding sauce, cheese and toppings, so it gets kinda crispy edges all around.
You can make up a batch of marinara, or homemade pizza sauce, or just pick some sauce up at the store. I actually like using Great Value brand pizza sauce from Walmart because it's inexpensive, all natural, has no added sugar, and it tastes good, so I keep a jar in my pantry all the time. It keeps in the fridge for awhile too, but if you don't use it within a week, you can also use my ice cube tray trick to freeze it too!
Use whatever favorite toppings you like on your pizza of course, but I always have pepperoni in the freezer. Although the handheld Food Saver isn't intended for freezing food, I use it for my pepperoni. It keeps it fresh and I can seal it right back up for next time. Just remember that this pizza is quick cooking, so some things you'll want to precook before adding - meats like sausage, bacon, and some vegetables like bell pepper and onion all should be precooked, all of which can be done ahead of time. Cooking some bacon or sausage for a weekend breakfast? Cook some extra and freeze it. Making marinara sauce for pasta? Make extra and freeze it. Sauteeing some veggies for a favorite main dish? Yep. Make extra for your pizza!
Anyway... so I made French Bread Pizza Saturday night and thought I'd be a good time to write up a post and share it! Sorry no fancy, styled photographs today - but that's a subtle reminder that I am a home cook, not a chef, not a food stylist and not a photographer - so today it's photos shot in my kitchen, just before we ate our pizza. Keeping it real! Here's how I make my French Bread Pizza.
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Recipe: French Bread Pizza©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 1 large (1 pound) loaf French or Italian style bread, split lengthwise
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup sliced pepperoni or other desired toppings (see note)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with aluminum foil. Combine butter and next four ingredients, plus half of the Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Cut French bread in half lengthwise and use a rolling pin to compact bread both lengthwise and side to side. Brush cut sides of bread with butter mixture and cut into serving sized pieces, placing on prepared pan.
Spread pizza sauce on each cut side of bread, sprinkle each half evenly with mozzarella and top with pepperoni. Sprinkle with remaining Italian seasoning and bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top lightly browned. Remove and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Cook's Notes: Sauce, cheese and pepperoni are all estimates, so feel free to adjust to your own taste! Use your favorite toppings, however, meats and other vegetable toppings, such as onion and bell pepper, should be precooked prior to topping the pizzas.
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©Deep South Dish
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