Sometimes he cuts appetizer pizzas into
squares and passes them around the bar on
weekends as a snack, gratis. “To be honest,
people don’t mind waiting as much when you
give them a little bite,” he says.
Chefs go many directions with first-course
pizzas, which, after all, are meant to open
the palate rather than fill the guest. Pizza
crust, whatever it is made of, is the perfect
canvas for the creative chef to cover
the culinary range of exotic, rich, flavor-balanced and upscale ingredients. Some
share their favorite ideas.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse venues serve appetizer pizzas that include this club
pizza (left) and pesto chicken with sun-dried tomato pizza.
the oven to set the bacon. He slices the
finished dates onto the pizza dough, along
with fontina cheese and fresh herbs at the
end. It presents a sweet, salty, smoky flavor.
• One of Poursohi’s favorites at Faz is tarte
flambé—applewood-smoked bacon, cream
cheese, goat cheese, onion and julienned
fresh basil. He finely dices the onion and
cuts the raw bacon into small pieces
and mixes with cream cheese and goat
cheese, spreads it all on the dough and
bakes. Before service, he garnishes with
basil. For those who wonder how you can
include raw bacon on the pizza, “It cooks
perfectly. It’s fabulous,” he says.
• Poursohi also makes pomegranate
barbecue sauce work on appetizer
pizzas. He makes chicken/mozzarella/
pomegranate barbecue pizza, which offers
a sweet/sour flavor. His special sauce
replaces tomato sauce. “Or you can use
duck confit, if you like, with pomegranate
• For a Mexican/Southwest appetizer
pizza, Martin plays with barbacoa (spicy
shredded braised beef), adding sautéed
pepper, onions and green chilies. At the
end, he adds cilantro and drizzles with
Baja sauce, “which is like Mexican-style
vinaigrette,” he says.
Mardi Gras Pizza Bread
Jasper Mirabile Jr., Chef/Co-owner
Kansas City, Mo.
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 loaf ciabatta bread
2 cups New Orleans red gravy
1 cup fresh mozzarella
½ cup Romano, grated
½ cup pepperoni, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzle
• To mimic a chicken/mozzarella club
sandwich, another appetizer pizza at BJ’s
features a thin crust covered with mozzarella
cheese (no sauce), seasoned tomatoes,
diced grilled chicken and bacon bits. Once
removed from the oven, garlic aïoli is drizzled
over the top with diced avocado.
The National Culinary Review | May 2011
Method: Preheat oven to 450°F. Slice
bread in half lengthwise. Spread both
sides with New Orleans red gravy. Add
cheeses and pepperoni. Drizzle with
olive oil. Bake until crisp and cheese is
bubbling, about 4-5 minutes. Cut into
slices; serve hot.
• Further on the pomegranate theme,
Poursohi makes pomegranate/walnut
pizza. For the sauce, he finely dices onion
and caramelizes with olive oil, adds ground
walnuts and cooks on low for about a half-hour until the oil from the walnuts comes
out. “At that stage, add pomegranate
juice or paste as the base of the sauce,”
he says. Add chicken, duck or any meat
spread on top of the dough, and bake.
• Another unique thin-crust appetizer pizza
at BJ’s layers thin-sliced roasted potatoes
with a thin layer of Boursin or mozzarella
cheese and shredded rotisserie chicken.
Fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary,
are added at the end.
• Bacon-wrapped dates are the key
ingredient for one of Martin’s favorites at
BJ’s restaurants. He stuffs dates with blue
cheese, wraps with bacon and bakes in
• Also on the potato theme, Corrieri with
MAFIAoZA’s favors red potato, rosemary
and lardo pizza for an appetizer. He tops
little rounds of dough with two or three
slices of parboiled, sliced red potato,
sprinkles on rosemary and tops with a