Masterchef challenge, day 14: Feta, olive and onion pizza

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The ingredients for the second day of the 4th round preliminaries were:

  • Feta cheese
  • Tomato
  • Thyme
  • Broad beans (fava beans?)
  • Red wine
  • Caballo nero (a sort of cabbage?) It was cavolo nero, indeed a kind of dark green cabbage. Thanks Fran!
  • Lamb chops

I have noticed that the more I make these MasterChef meals, the less ingredients I want to use. The two hosts hammering the point time and time again that they want a 'clean plate of food' may have something to do with it. (I tend to think that it's only people who eat out at restaurants almost every day, as the two show hosts probably do, that bitch about wanting 'simple food'; people who don't eat out so much don't mind some fancy footwork going on on their expensive restaurant plates. But I digress.)

Anyway, on to what I made out of the ingredients for day 14. What is caballo nero? (I don't know if it's spelled right...) [Edit: Cavolo nero it was, and I had indeed misspelled it.] It looked like a very dark cabbage or kale, or even collard greens. I'm guessing it is some sort of Italian vegetable, but not available here in Switzerland.

Logically one might make a meal centered armound the lamb chops, but I did not feel in the mood for meat, so I went for a simple pizza or focaccia topped with sautéed onions, black Greek olives, and crumbled feta cheese. Feta does not really melt much, but it does soften and become sort of creamy when it's baked. It was topped off with a sprinkle of thyme. The red wine? We drank it.

This is such a simple dish there's no need for a detailed recipe. I used the basic pizza dough recipe I always use, only using a rapid rise yeast instead of regular yeast. This makes it possible to have a ready to use dough within 30 minutes. The taste is marginally less complete than a dough given a longer rising, but it's quite acceptable. To save even more time, use a ready-made refrigerated pizza dough or one of those ready-to-heat-up disks. I sautéed a thinly sliced onion in olive oil until it was limp, spread it all over the pizza disc with the oil (smearing the oil over the edges), and topped it off with the olives and crumbled feta cheese. This was baked in a very hot oven for 10 minutes.

Unused ingredients: tomato (I could have sliced one on top of the pizza, if I'd thought of it), broad beans, lamb chops.

Comments

Just to say we've recently started watching Masterchef again, and I've really been enjoying your posts.

The Interweb She Say:

Cavolo nero
Originating in Italy, cavolo nero looks like a Savoy cabbage, with thick curly leaves, which have a rich, slightly bitter taste.
Uses: Serve as an accompaniment to meat either on its own with seasoning to taste or with a sprinkling of olive oil.
To store: Keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
To prepare: Trim out the thicker parts of the midrib from each leaf. Cut or break the leaves into several smaller pieces.

Fran, thanks for the cavalo nero explanation! I will have to look for it next time I get to Italy.

It is exported, or even grown outside Italy, we get it here in the UK but it is expensive and seasonal - early December is best.

Are you my long lost friend from Chicago, son of Joe Dowd?

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