Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
~~ Mark Twain
I like Mexican food; it doesn’t always like me. 😉 Mexican Green Chile and Shrimp Pizza bursts with south-of-the-border flavor, and the combination of Mexican chorizo, cilantro-pepitas pesto, New Mexico green chile, and lime-marinated shrimp tickles your taste buds. However, it is spicy! Evaluate your heat-handling ability prior to proceeding…
Since moving to McAllen, Texas (near the Gulf of Mexico) 6 months ago, I’ve sought to include more of the abundance of Mexican ingredients and regional flavors in my recipes. The local Gulf shrimp are amazing, the fresh avocados are always ripe and ready, the cilantro is beautiful and inexpensive, and the butcher block at our local market has very lean house-made chorizo. I still have several pounds of Hatch green chile in my freezer, we’ve got a new gas grill with a pizza stone insert, our weather has been gorgeous in the evenings, and shrimp pizza seemed like a perfect direction to head with this… Well, it wasn’t easy, but I think my sous chef (and husband) and I came up with a winner!
The pizza crust complements the Mexican flavors with the addition of cornmeal. The crust is chewy with a bit of earthy, cornmeal crunch. It provides a really nice base for the toppings. I used my bread machine to streamline the process of making pizza dough – as I usually do. I use the “dough” setting, carefully dump the ingredients into the pan, check to make sure the dough forms a ball, and then forget about it for 1 1/2 hours. Before the dough finishes, I quick-marinate the shrimp, make the cilantro pesto, then brown the chorizo. When selecting chorizo for this dish, keep in mind that you need lean, butcher block quality chorizo, not the type that comes in a tube that is mostly orange grease. Yuck!
Once the dough is ready, divide it into 4 portions. Using a rolling pin – I like a Norpro 3077 Wooden Pastry and Pizza Roller or similar – roll the dough into approximately 8″ disks. Place them on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Spread each crust with about 1/4th of the pesto, 1/4th of the browned chorizo, and 1/4th of the chopped green chile. Grill or bake the pizzas 6 to 8 minutes – until the edges are browning nicely. If you’ve got a sous chef/husband/significant other to keep an eye on the pizzas, go ahead and sear those marinated shrimp. This takes about 1 minute per side if the pan is very hot. Overcooked shrimp taste like leather, so cook just until pink with a bit of caramelization on the edges. With the pizzas off the grill or out of the oven, arrange a few shrimp and thin slices of avocado; garnish with some chopped cilantro. Voila!
I would suggest pairing this spicy Mexican Green Chile and Shrimp Pizza with a really great farmhouse saison such as Anchorage Brewing Company’s Love Buzz Saison – the citra hops and fresh orange peel finish would be a perfect complement to the pizza. Mark and I love pairing wine and beer with food. I am wondering if many of my readers appreciate pairings suggestions… I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Mexican flavors combine in this spicy south-of-the-border pizza... Green chile, lime marinated shrimp, cilantro pesto, and avocado on a chewy cornmeal crust!
2 hrPrep Time
10 minCook Time
2 hr, 10 Total Time
- 1 cup lukewarm water (100 degrees F or less)
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- additional flour for kneading
- zest and juice of 1 juicy lime (about 2 tbsp.)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves packed
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces very lean Mexican chorizo
- 1/2 cup Hatch green chile, chopped
- 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, very thinly sliced
- a handful of cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Add the pizza dough ingredients to your bread machine. (See notes if not using a bread machine). Set to dough mode, and start. Watch the bread machine as it starts to combine the ingredients. You want a very firm dough. Add flour if necessary until it forms a ball.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the shrimp marinade. Whisk them together, then combine with the shrimp. Set aside.
Make the pesto. To the bowl of a food processor, add the cilantro, pepitas, and garlic. Pulse until finely minced. Slowly pour the olive oil through the chute while the machine processes. Check the consistency. It should be somewhat loose - like a creamy dressing. Add more olive oil if necessary. Add the cotija. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Set aside.
Fry chorizo until mixture forms crumbles like ground beef when cooked. Drain any grease from the pan, and set aside.
Preheat grill or oven to very hot. Your grill should read about 500 degrees minimum, and an oven needs to read at least 450 degrees.
When the dough is ready, prepare a large sheet of waxed paper with additional flour. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Divide into 4 equal pieces, and manipulate to form balls. Add flour to surface as needed. Roll the dough balls into disks - they should be very thin and about 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
Place on well-seasoned pizza stone(s) or baking sheet(s). Spray with cooking spray if in doubt.
Spread each crust with a generous layer of pesto, 1/4th of the crumbled cooked chorizo, and 1/4th of the chopped green childe.
Cook the pizzas until the edges are browning, and you see some color (even char) on the underside.
If you have a helper that can watch the pizzas, sear the shrimp. This just involves using tongs to remove individual shrimp from the marinade, and dropping them onto a very hot non-stick griddle. You don't want to overcook them; 1 minute per side should be enough.
When pizzas are done, plate them, arrange thin sliced avocados and seared shrimp on each one. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a wedge of lime.
If you don't have a bread machine, and want to tackle the pizza dough, combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Knead (adding flour as necessary) until a firm ball is formed. Continue kneading about 10 minutes. Set into a lightly greased bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Allow dough to rise until double in size. Proceed with instructions after dough cycle is complete.
Hatch green chile doesn't have a good substitute, but it is widely available outside of New Mexico now. If you can't find it, substitute canned diced green chile.
This pizza is spicy. Both the chorizo and the green chile can vary. I know my chorizo and green chile heat level, and this works well for us.
Due to diet concerns, we don't eat a lot of cheese, and I don't think cheese goes well with the shrimp. The cotija in the pesto is more of a flavoring ingredient. I get a good aged cotija at my local market. Substitute parmesan or romano if necessary.
Most of my recipes are written for 4 servings. In this case, we used 2 dough balls one night, put away the prepared pesto, cooked chorizo, and chopped green chile. I marinated additional fresh shrimp another night, and sliced another avocado, and we had a quick second meal.