This recipe is one with the heady memories of my first job out of university. Two thousand miles from home, I was fortunate enough to find a friend. Marit was my age, had a similar educational background, and started work in my group the same day I did. Later I heard that overnight the all-male software engineering team into which we were hired suddenly acquired rudimentary grooming habits. I'm sure that was because of her, as she was lovely.
Marit had an unconscious grace and boundless common sense except for when she didn't. She could solve complex software problems, fix a car, and Lord help you if you became distracted while out on a walk with her, because when you looked back again you might well have found her halfway up a chain link fence, scoping out the guards on the other side. She is also completely to blame for my affection for solid pewter Christmas ornaments and for Birkenstocks.
Among her other talents, Marit could cook up a storm. She introduced me to a number of Scandinavian dishes, never hindered by the cats constantly underfoot or the inevitable garnish of fur. Marit owned a number of Himalayan cats and at the time was also boarding one of her sister's queens, a registered champion nicknamed Jama. I was lucky enough to adopt from her the pick of the litter from Jama's rather unfortunate tryst with a big black alley cat. That kitten, now the elderly king of my household, was born the same weekend I started work in “the real world”. In keeping with his rank, these days when I'm cooking he doesn't so much get underfoot as he deigns to supervise.
Marit never told me whether this recipe is widely made in Sweden (or if she did I have forgotten), but recently I did see a cooking show sponsored by scandcook which supports the authenticity and/or regionality of the dipping sauce. While this pizza is made with French bread and in form resembles an American French bread pizza, the taste is different, and it has very little in common with typical American pizza or traditional Italian pies aside from bread, cheese, and tomatoes. Nevertheless, it is dead easy to make, inexpensive, sinfully rich, and well merits your consideration for immediate devouring.
This meal needs little to round it out aside from a good red wine. Any side dishes you offer should be very light — a gently dressed green salad, steamed snow peas or edamame would go nicely, or perhaps some fresh fruit.
Serves 2-6 people depending on appetites and whether you are serving side dishes. The recipe multiplies easily but depending on your broiler arrangement you might need to cook it one batch at a time.
- a fresh French baguette — the very slender (wrist-diameter / 400g) French variety of crusty bread, not the wider Italian-style loaf. (This can be confusing to Americans because in the US, “French Bread pizza” is usually made with Italian bread!) The bread must be freshly baked.
- a wedge of Brie cheese, about 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) wide along the rim.
- 3 oz (85 g) bag of good quality sun-dried tomatoes — these should be dry, not the type jarred in oil. Alternatively, try Sneff's yummy-sounding oven dried tomatoes recipe.
- boiling water
- your favorite mayonnaise
- your favorite prepared mustard
Mix together mayonnaise and mustard in a 1:1 ratio in a small bowl for dipping purposes. About 1/4 to 1/3 cup (60-80 ml) each works for me. This dish lends itself to double dipping, though, so if cooking for more than one you might want to increase those amounts and provide each diner with their own bowl.
Put the sun-dried tomatoes into a small bowl and add just enough boiling water just to cover. (They may want to float, that's okay.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and allow the tomatoes to soak for 20-30 minutes or until they are soft and pliable. Drain the tomatoes (save the liquid for soup if you want) and pat them dry with paper towels. Trim any hard stem ends away, and pull off any especially papery tomato skins with your fingers.
Turn on your broiler. (If you are in the UK, turn on your grill.) Cover a cookie sheet (or any baking sheet which will fit in your broiler) with aluminum foil.
Split the baguette in half longwise with a bread knife and place the halves, cut-side up, on the cookie sheet.
Cut the Brie vertically into slices about 1/4 inch (6-7 mm) thick and cover the cut sides of the baguettes with them. Marit never cut away the white cheese rind and neither do I, but suit yourself. Spread the Brie out with a table knife; you want to cover the cut surface of the bread to help protect it from the intense heat of the broiler.
Arrange the sun-dried tomatoes, skin side up, on top of the Brie.
Put the pan in the broiler (or under the grill). Let it go for 3 minutes and then watch closely. When the tomatoes start to blacken in earnest (about 30-50% black vs. red), it's done.
Cut into sections about 4 inches (10 cm) long and serve piping hot with the dipping sauce. To eat, dunk the cut end lightly into the sauce and munch away. Repeat as necessary. YUM!
Wrap any leftovers in the foil you broiled them on and refrigerate. They are quite fine cold, or you can reheat them in the oven right in that foil packet. I advise against microwaving.
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2006-08-14@6:07 Junkill says re Blackened sun-dried tomato and Brie pizza with mayonnaise-mustard dipping sauce: Oh. My. Gawd. Seriously. Suzi and I made this for dinner. This time we made it right (first time we used an Italian loaf, mislabeled "French Bread" at our local Albertsons store ... they still have those). This was insanely good. I mean, like, words fail and profanity kicks in. We used a stone-ground mustard that we love. Damn, girl. Ya done good. (snip) YUM! Big old salads and that and red wine... man o man... *sigh*