Last night, right before I fell into a deep sleep – around 11:40 pm – I whipped up some habenero cactus jelly. What? Let me explain. When I can't fall asleep, I pretend I'm a cheftestant on Top Chef. Absurd, I know. I am not a chef. Not. even. close. It doesn't matter, my cooking qualifications are irrelevant. I just need to fall asleep, people, and counting sheep doesn't cut it. So, each night, I enter myself into a quick fire challenge, think about what I would cook, and how I would make it. Take, for example, the recent Top Chef quick fire on cooking cactus. I got in my PJs, crawled into bed, then went through a bunch of potential cactus dishes in my head. I finally decided on habanero cactus jelly. Five minutes later I was a asleep. Some times, I'll actually make the dishes I dream up; sometimes not. Habanero cactus jelly? Not.
A deconstructed dish is one that is taken apart and put back together again in a different way, but the flavor represents the original. I think. Usually, it's uber fancy, which doesn't really go with my cooking style, which is, ur, not fancy.
So I present to you my deconstructed Vichyssoise, which is a cold soup, typically made with cream, leeks, and potatoes. The waxy red potatoes were creamy and went well with the leeks and thyme; it was a surprisingly successful combination on pizza. I'm not sure if this would qualify as a deconstructed dish in Tom Colichio's eyes; probably not. He's a tough judge, always rolling his eyes at everyone. I don't even know if this pizza actually tastes like Vichyssoise because I've never tasted the dish. No matter. Thinking about it sure did help me fall asleep. And, look, I actually made the pizza. Good night!
Potato, Leek, and Gruyere Pizza
Adapted from Real Simple
1 pizza dough
2 small leeks (white and light green parts), cut into small strips
2 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the dough into a 1/4 inch-thick circle or rectangle. Sprinkle a pizza stone with cornmeal and place the dough on top.
2. In a large bowl, combine the leeks, potatoes, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon of oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush a tablespoon of olive oil on the dough, sprinkle dough with remaining thyme (2 tablespoons), then spread vegetable mixture and sprinkle with Gruyere. Bake until the crust is golden and the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Use remaining olive oil to brush the crust. Cut into pieces.