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Cook: Spinach Salad Pizza with Fried Eggs

Last Tuesday was my first Tuesday in twelve weeks that I was home before 9:30pm.  In previous weeks, I was forced to find recipes for Tuesday night that were easy, fast, and didn’t require much in the thought department.  After twelve hours, I didn’t have it in me.

No more!

This week on Tuesday night, I decided to celebrate my extra hours with a dinner that would require more than three ingredients and fifteen minutes.  I got creative and combined two of my favorite dishes: spinach salad and pizza.  Using leftover pizza dough that I had frozen, I built a pizza that had all the ingredients a spinach salad would incorporate: ranch dressing, spinach, mushrooms, blue cheese, bacon, and eggs.  On a pizza!  It’s the best of both worlds.

I took the dough out of the freezer Tuesday morning before work to let it thaw.  It was all thawed out by the time I got home, and I have to say, the consistency of the dough this time around was much better.  Age did good things to it.  And notice, please, that I am no longer saying de-thaw.  Thank you very much.

I made homemade ranch dressing because I didn’t have any bottled Ranch and because it’s delicious and easy to make.  I let this sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes while my oven was preheating to 475 degrees, so the flavors would mix and mingle.

Here’s the Ranch Dressing recipe:

Ranch Dressing

4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of sour cream
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Milk (buttermilk or regular milk, either is fine)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt
Pepper

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, the splash of Worcestershire sauce.  Starting with very small measurements, add the garlic powder onion powder, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together.  Begin adding milk while whisking, until the desired consistency is reached.  If you want this to be thin and pourable for a salad, add more milk.  If you want it to be more of a dip, add less.  Then taste for seasoning, adding more of each seasoning as needed.  For instance, I added more salt because it was a bit bland, then a little more garlic powder, a little more onion powder, etc until I thought it was just right.  The good thing about this recipe is you can customize it completely to your liking.  Ranch dressing is personal, I know.

To make the pizza, I spread the dough thinly onto a greased sheet pan.  Then I spread a thin layer of ranch dressing onto the crust.  Spinach leaves were layered on top of the dressing.  I added chopped baby bella mushrooms and some chopped bacon on top of the spinach.  Then came the blue cheese crumbles, and a very thin layer of mozzarella cheese to keep everything together.  Halved grape tomatoes would have been awesome on this too had I bought some at the store.

I baked the pizza in the oven for six minutes, then took it out of the oven and cracked two eggs on top of the half-cooked pizza.*  You don’t want to add the eggs too soon, or you’ll just have a fully cooked, hard egg on your pizza and nobody likes that.

I baked the pizza for about ten minutes more, until the bacon was crispy, the crust was golden brown, and the cheese bubbly.  Oh, and until the eggs no longer jiggled.  You want the eggs to be firm, but the yolk to still be runny.  Trust me here.

The result was an incredibly flavorful, rich pizza that had all the flavors of spinach salad but better.  I cooked the dough a good 5 minutes longer than the recipe instructed, and I was so much happier with the results this time.  The thick, chalky dough of my fig pizza was gone.  This dough was crispy on the outside, doughy in the center; everything a pizza should be.

*OK.  Here it is.  I thought I could pass over the egg-on-pizza thing, acting as if it was completely normal, hoping you wouldn’t notice.  But the truth of the matter is, it’s not completely normal (or completely abnormal), and a lot of you pizza purists will expect an explanation.  Here goes.  I first had an egg on a pizza in Italy.  Notice how so many of my food stories begin “this one time… in Italy…”  Anyway, I thought it was weird too.  Then I tasted it.  The yolk runs into the rest of the pizza creating a rich, creamy bonus-sauce.  It felt exciting and new, not to mention decadent.  I was sold.  Since then, every time I try this egg-on-pizza thing, people have the same reaction.  They’re grossed out and weirded out and are seriously questioning both my judgment and their own for willingly coming over to my house for dinner.  Then they try it, and the rich, exciting, decadent bonus-sauce works its magic on them too.  I promise you, this will not disappoint.  Try the egg.  Embrace the egg.  Love the egg.

Plus it kind of looks like your pizza is looking at you.  And I like that.

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