Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Twenty - A GCF in honor of Co.

Co is Jim Lahey's fabulous pizza spot. This is not your generic grab a slice and go, the space is composed primarily of communal tables and to-go pizza is not available. Jim Lahey, of Sullivan Street Bakery, opened Co in the Winter of 2009 to "celebrate bread as the centerpiece of the meal." The menu is composed of salads, toasts, flatbread pizzas, and more. But the best part of their meal, I'd say is their thin crusted Roman style pizzas with a plethora of inventive toppings.

Of course they have the traditional Margherita, but then they have pies like the Popeye (pecorino, gruyère, mozzarella, spinach, black pepper, garlic); and the Ham n' Cheese (pecorino, gruyère, mozzarella, prosciutto, caraway); and the Meatball (tomato, mozzarella, veal meatballs, caramelized onions, olives, aged pecorino, oregano); and the special one we had last night, Mushroom and Jalapeno which was mixed seasonal mushrooms, bechamel, gruyere, pecorino, garlic confit, jalapeno, and fresh dill.

So for this week's GCF, I thought I'd suggest a riff on that fantastic Mushroom and Jalapeno pie we had last night. What made last night's pie was the tenderness of the mushrooms mixed with the hint of spice from the jalapeno and the bright jumpiness of the dill with the mixture of cheeses all elegantly placed on the backdrop of the homemade crust. The earthy-ness of the mushrooms cut through the creaminess of the bechamel in just the right fashion.

Most important therefore for our GCF is high quality mushrooms roasted to perfection. Grab a nice selection of a variety of mushroom types from the Greenmarket in Union Square, you most certainly don't want just baby bellas in a package from the supermarket for this GCF, you need to step it up a bit. Don't chop the mushrooms, keep them whole and toss them with some extra virgin olive oil and roast for 30 minutes at 250 degrees in your oven or until they are golden brown, tender, flavorful and lip-smacking good!

I think instead of utilizing dill in our GCF, I'd suggest using chives for brightness and herbaceousness. You also definitely need that spicy kick and as you all know, I love crushed red pepper so lets change things up a bit and utilize that instead.

Now for the bread, I recommend you visit Jim Lahey's bakery, Sullivan Street, and pick up a loaf of their pane casareccio. It is their house specialty and is best compared to a rustic sourdough country bread, made with a small percentage of whole wheat flour, this is a crunchy, crumbly, fantastic bread and the perfect backdrop for your GCF.

The missing element here is of course the cheese! You need to keep the alpine element for the nutty caramelly side of things and instead of going with a Gruyere, go with a Comte. Like Gruyere, Comte is an Alpine style pressed cow's milk cheese, firm, aged, and delish. Along with the Comte, I'd also suggest utilizing some Young Goat Gouda to add to the creaminess -- goat gouda is excellent melted and isn't too heavy, some cheeses develope an added weight when melted, this one doesn't. Lastly, I'd utilize some fresh Parmesan to grate over the top of the mushrooms.

To assemble your sandwich, slice two nice thick pieces of bread, drizzle some olive oil on either side, then some of the Young Goat Gouda and Comte, then top with the mushrooms, crushed red pepper, sea salt, chives, black pepper and then grate fresh Parmesan over the top and pop this baby in the oven. It'll be a delight with a nice glass of red wine, like a Tempranillo, something spicy with some red fruit.

Enjoy folks and definitely check out Co.

235 Ninth Avenue

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