Introduction: Watermélange - Watermelon and Shrimp Pizza
If there ever was a problem with watermelon, it's that it's too delicious to keep ourselves from eating. But after our tenth or so sweet treat made with watermelon, our mouths were left watering for a melon dish that was savory and could stand as a main course.
We came up with the Watermélange - a creamy, delicious pizza that was a hit at our weekly game night. Here's how to make it!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1 can premade pizza dough (or the ingredients here for DIY bread)
- 10oz container Sabra original hummus (or all ingredients found here for DIY hummus)
- 8oz goat cheese
- 1/4 watermelon
- 3oz pecorino cheese
- 8oz cooked, peeled, tail-off shrimp (frozen)
- Cooking spray
- 1 tbsp chervil, finely minced
- Fine cheese grater
- Rolling Pin
- Cutting board
- Baking pan
- Aluminum sheet
- Food processor or blender (if making hummus from scratch)
- Oven with broil setting
- Pizza cutter (this one recommended for *enterprising* chefs)
Step 1: The Crust & Hummus
Like all new inventions, we succeeded by standing on the shoulders of giants. One such giant is Jenna Sauers, who gave us a delicious, quick bread recipe. Another is Joanne, who taught us the art of making easy, smooth hummus from scratch. Both of these recipes are highly recommended and take the recipe up a notch in tastiness! You'll want to follow both of these recipes to completion before the next steps if you're going full-on DIY.
Preparing the Crust:
First, we'll want to preheat the oven to 350°F so we won't have to play the waiting game later.
Next, whether by following these DIY recipes or by buying premade dough, we'll need to prepare the bread into a crust. If it's not already rolled flat, take a rolling pin and smooth it out onto the floured cutting board. We left ours about 1/4" thick, but you can make it thicker or thinner depending on if you like your pizza soft or crispy.
Put some aluminum foil down on the baking sheet, spray some cooking spray onto it, and transfer the rolled dough onto the foil. The foil helps keep the baking sheet clean and speeds cleanup afterwards.
Once the dough is on the baking sheet, take a fork and poke it lightly all over to prevent air from getting trapped under the dough and making unsightly bubbles. Finish off by dusting the dough lightly with paprika, then pop it in the oven for 8 minutes to crisp up.
While you're waiting for the crust, it's time to start on preparing the toppings.
Step 2: The Toppings
For our Watermélange, we chose flavors that would nicely complement the sweet juicyness of the watermelon. Hummus served as a sauce substitue, as we knew a tomato based sauce would quickly overpower the watermelon flavor. We used goat cheese - a nice creamy spreadable cheese - as the base topping. We also tried some cooked shrimp to give the pizza a more savory flavor, while still keeping a smooth texture and taste.
Let's start with the shrimp. Take your frozen package of shrimp and toss the shrimp into the colander. Run warm water over them, shaking and moving the little shrimpies around until they feel nice and tender. Set the colander aside.
Take your cutting board and knife and slice open the goat cheese. Dice the cheese as finely as you can. Since the cheese is so creamy it's hard to get any particular shape; we'll simply be spreading it across the pizza, so it's fine if the pieces are a little bit lumpy.
Now clean off your knife and advance on the watermelon, being careful not to spook it. Once it's within reach, slice quickly in a sweeping motion along the rind to remove its outer armor, then show it no mercy! We're just kidding... all you have to do is dice it into 1" chunks, but it may be significantly more fun if you act like a big game hunter while doing so.
Hopefully your crust is nice and crispy now. Let's move on to the cooking process!
Step 3: The Oven
There was a bit of trial and error involving cooking time, but we found the following cook/add process worked very well to get everything cooked to perfection:
After the 8 minutes are up, remove the crust from the oven. The dough should still have a bit of give to it, but there should be a harder shell around the outside. Spread the hummus - DIY or otherwise - all over the top of the crust. You're looking for a smooth, even layer that's pretty thin and similar to that of standard pizza sauce. For presentation points, take that fork you used earlier and scrape the hummus so it looks a bit furrowed. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the top. It'll clump up, so make sure there's a relatively even distribution.
Pop it back into the oven at 350 Fahrenheit, and cook for 5 minutes.
The hummus should have darkened nicely and the goat cheese should look a bit softer at this point. Take the baking sheet out and turn the oven up to 450. Add the shrimp in a similar fashion as the goat cheese.
Return it to the oven (now at 450) and bake for 5 more minutes to heat up the precooked shrimp.
Pull the sheet out again and add the watermelon chunks, then use your cheese grater to apply a liberal sprinkling of Pecorino cheese to the whole shebang.
Put it in the oven and broil for 3 minutes to give the cheese a nice melty look. After the broil, take it out and let it sit for a few minutes to cool off before serving.
Step 4: The End!
You've just made a Watermélange pizza! It may be wacky and weird, but it tastes absolutely delicious. The subtle, buttery flavor of the shrimp layers on top of the creamy tang of the goat cheese - and then the sweet, juicy flavor of the watermelon bursts onto your tongue. We found that the hummus and bread flavors give a nice rich background that supports and sustains the other flavors.
Why haven't we used the chervil yet? Well, we wanted to try different amounts and compare the taste! Chervil apparently loses its flavor when cooked as well, so we definitely didn't want to bake it into the pizza. We compared varying amounts of chervil, from none at all to a heaping helping. Here are the results of adding fresh chopped chervil to a single slice:
- No chervil: Quite delicious - see above
- ~2 tsp: No real noticeable change from non-chervil
- ~1/2 tbsp: We picked up an almost basil-like taste, slightly minty!
- >1 tbsp: Felt more like eating a wad of chervil than pizza... do not recommend.
From our experimentation, a nice sprinkling of chervil does the trick and adds a little extra freshness in flavor to the pie. But enough taste talk - follow our recipe and experience it for yourself! We'd love to hear comments on any personal twists made to the recipe.
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