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 ½ 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 ¼th of the pesto, ¼th of the browned chorizo, and ¼th 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!