Monday, August 22, 2011

Zapiekanka: A Polish Street Food Goes Gourmet, with Swiss Chard Pesto, Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms, Oven Roasted Corn, and Garlic Aioli on a Fresh Homemade Baguette for the 5 Star Pizza Makeover

Imagine my surprise when the theme for this month's 5 Star Makeover - hosted as always by the prolific Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - was announced. Pizza. But wait a minute. I just made a pizza for last month's 5 Star farmers market challenge: the glorious Tycoon, a manly pie dripping with steak and blue cheese and potatoes and quail eggs.

No matter - if there's one thing I love it's stuff on bread, and the possibilities are endless. And it seems I tend to get inspired by the various permutations of pizza  I encounter on my travels.  Last year I recreated (and created) a few versions of langos, Hungarian deep fried pizza, after visiting Budapest. So it seemed only fitting that for this pizza challenge I would create a gourmet version of zapiekanka, a  pizza-esqe Polish street food I enjoyed in Krakow. Remember?

Zapiekankas often  feature a bizarre combination of toppings, but they tend to have certain things in common: the French bread, a layer of mushrooms, and often a hard cheese and some sort of sauce. The one on the right, with sausage and pickles and barbecue sauce, was every bit as delicious (and kind of weird) as it sounds. The one on the left, however, did not deliver on its promise of big flavors that I thought it would have thanks to  the spinach and garlic sauce. So I decided to make my own, from scratch, the way I wanted it to taste.

I promised myself I wouldn't make a pizza with a  50 million ingredients to put together  like I did with the Tycoon, but as it turns out, I lied. Won't be the last time!

But this pizza was worth every minute I spent in my hellishly hot kitchen, occasionally (well, maybe almost constantly) cursing  like a drunken sailor for being crazy enough to blast the oven in August in a house with no central air. Seriously. The earthy mushrooms, the nutty Swiss chard pesto, the sweet crunchy corn, and the very garlicky aioli piled on top of a fresh-from-the-oven-baguette is definitely worth its weight in my sweat. And if you still have an appetite after that visual, read on.

Zapiekanka Makeover

For the Swiss chard pesto, in a food processor  combine one bunch of stemmed chard leaves, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 3 cloves of garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and whizz it all together while adding  enough olive oil to reach a spreadable consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. 

For the roasted corn, soak 2 un-shucked ears in water and then roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. To get some charring, shuck the corn and hold over the flame of a gas burner. When cool, cut the kernels from the ears. 

To make the mushroom saute, chop one shallot and about a pound of crimini mushrooms. Saute the shallots in butter until transparent, then add the mushrooms, cooking over medium high heat until they release their water. Add a few sprigs of thyme and some chopped fresh rosemary and  continue to cook to cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Then add 1/4 cup good red wine and simmer until evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

For the garlic aioli, by all means use a stand mixer! I know that the classic way is to hand whisk, but your emulsion is much less likely to break with machine power. And make sure to buy fresh eggs from real cage-free chickens at your local farmers market. If you're worried about using raw egg, you could use pasteurized. You'll need 2 yolks, 1 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cold water, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 cup of good extra virgin olive oil, and 3-5 minced garlic cloves, depending on how garlicky you like it. Except for the cold water, everything should be at room temperature. First, whisk together the yolks and the garlic. With the wire whisk attachment and your mixer going on high, start adding the olive oil one drop at a time. DO NOT RUSH THIS STEP. Once you've added about half the oil, add the mustard powder, salt, cold water, and lemon juice. Then slowly add the rest of the oil.

To make my baguette, I followed the (almost) no-knead recipe at the King Arthur flour blog, except I used half bread flour and half AP rather than all AP. I have made yeast breads many times, but never a baguette for some reason. And while I am not about to put Peter Rhinehart out of business, I'm pretty proud of my results:
Note that you must begin this bread the night before you plan to bake it.

After making all of my ingredients in a single afternoon, I was finally ready to have some zapiekanka! I layered the ingredients, added a bit of Parmesan for good measure, and stuck it all under a broiler to get everything warm. (Of course the garlic aioli didn't go on until the zaps came out of the broiler.)

Who knew that making street food in your kitchen is so much work?

Thanks to Natasha and Lazaro for hosting this monthly soiree, and make sure to check out all the other pizzas - Natasha will post the round up Friday, just follow the link below. And guys? Let's not have September's theme be a zapiekanka makeover, okay?





28 comments:

  1. You see, I could smell your crusty baguette all the way here and it inspired me to bake the same thing (without the 50 million toppings)! And I'm happy to see this beauty being reincarnated into its next life as a pizza, without obviously looking like one. Another great makeover jobbie, girl!

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  2. Cool shoes you wore in Krakow, btw. Love 'em!

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  3. Trixie Girl! This post speaks to me and it says, Get in the kitchen and make some bread NOW! Lucky for me, my chard cup runneth over. . . going out to get some to make this pesto, too!
    Yum!

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  4. You are a rock star for making your own baguette -- I've been dying to do that! Pizza on French bread is fantastic, I love that chewy base. And with things like sauteed mushrooms and garlic aioli you really can't go wrong!

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  5. Very cool you made your bread. You know as soon as they said the theme pizza I actually thought of you and the one you just made. Just as delicious but no resemblance between the two. You are creative. The flavors here sounds fantastic.

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  6. Nothing turns me on more than when someone holds out their generous zapiekanka. That said, nevermind on the large ingredient list but I think you just broke your own record for headline length. Length does matter.

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  7. Your Zapiekankas are terrific! Just perfect on a homemade baguette. I love the swiss chard pesto here. Back in Ukraine I used to make different versions of Zapiekankas, these are so yummy!

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  8. You had me at swiss chard pesto! I adore chard and will be giving it the pesto treatment next time I get some - maybe I'll even put together my own zapiekanka :)

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  9. Cant pronounce this but boy do I want to eat them!

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  10. Trix,

    Another beautiful creation. Every component working together in perfect harmony. The bread looks baked to crusty perfection.

    Love it!

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  11. Kick ass 5 star foodie makeover! The devil is definitely in the details on this one :) I've never had zapiekanka before and this looks like a brilliant way to introduce myself to it!

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  12. somehow I think I would prefer your version better even if I were standing in Plac Nowy - but I just can't see the name of yours spread across the signage at the stands...

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  13. i am in love with the garlic aioli!! stunning :)

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  14. First of I love everything here...but a moment of silence for your baguette, bravo! And I am craving something with your garlic aioli, perhaps a bit of your pizza? :)

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  15. Lovely makeover... and yes... Winter is coming is a reference to Game of Thrones, we watched it recently and we're till shocked... and thrilled! ;)

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  16. Gorgeous baguette...and fabulous sandwich toppings! I would have never put this combination together, but I'd certainly gobble it down now that I've seen it! So creative and delicious!!

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  17. WOW! I want a bite... it sounds amazing! And the photos are breathtaking!

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  18. I think I might join a few more challenges soon. I miss making pizza and all sorts of stuff.

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  19. Yeah, who knew street food was so complicated ;) I love swiss chard and my next purchase I'm definitely going to pesto it and make a Zapiekankas - most likely on a store-bought baguette, but who knows, I might go all the way!

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  20. wow those look mouthwatering! Love the chard pesto.

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  21. Vavoom, Trix. Who knew the Polish could be so darn creative with a sandwich? Of course making your own bread for this takes it way out of the pizza on a roll school. I think corn and aioli is a wonderful combination... the crunch of fresh bread would be a delight. Please, do continue to keep trying new takes on favorites you sample in your travels. Your readers are most grateful!

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  22. I have never even hear of those, but they look awesome! I have a ton of chard that my best friend brings every week from his mom's yard, and finding ways to use it has become a challenge. I wonder if I could make chard pesto and freeze it for later? Saves a ton of room, too:)
    I bought some great-looking mushrooms, and this pizza-thingie can easily make an appearance at our dinner table (no, I will not be as ambitious as you - I'll walk to my corner bakery and buy a nice baguette:)
    Thanks for the inspiration, as usual:)

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  23. Your baguette is so gorgeous it might be gone before I could top it. Very creative cooking here.

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  24. Amazing, Trix! I am in love with the idea of making a pizza on a baguette--your baguette came out beautiful, by the way. Two homerun pizzas in a row for the cooking group!

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  25. This is so creative Trix!! I love the flavors and the theme - that you turned a street food into a gourmet pizza! Love it love it love it.

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  26. you made baguette, Trix!? This is surely a gourmet street food! I like the swiss chard pesto idea. Never thought of putting chard in pesto! Oh yeah, mushroom. I love mushroom especially crimini. They are earthy and oh so good. I havent even talked about garlic aioli! Man, you won me over since I heard of garlic!

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  27. you have me interested in the langos bread/pizza and there's nothing more fun than recreating street food we taste when traveling. makes for an exciting time in the kitchen! loved the crimini in this--one of my fave variety of mushrooms

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