Love is in the air and there's nothing like a homemade and fancy lobster recipe to impress your girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, or wife on Valentine's Day -- Lobster Puff Pastry Pizza.
This pizza recipe is not any New York corner pizza joint’s pizza but one that turns some of my favorite ingredients into a luxurious pizza that one might find in a Parisian restaurant.
With many of the fragrant flavors you'd use in "bouillabaisse", a Provencal-style fish soup, the aromatic flavors in this pizza will excite all your senses.
For the seafood toppings, I like to use local seafood. Montauk lobster is delicious any time of the year, particular on special occasions such as Valentine's Day, local swordfish and Peconic bay scallops, which are in season til March. The steaming liquid for the seafood provides the aromatic Provencal flavors -- white wine, water, fennel, orange zest and saffron -- all ingredients in a traditional bouillabaisse.
And, for the vegetable toppings, I roast and chop vegetables to add to the bites of seafood: plum tomatoes, fennel and red pepper. I prefer fresh tomatoes when they are in season although good quality canned plum tomatoes, preferably organic, can be drained and gently squeezed to remove excess liquid and used as a substitute for fresh.
The sauce is simple: roasted plum tomatoes, red pepper, fennel and garlic. To keep the fennel moist, pour a hint of wine to the pan. Garlic and wine are used liberally in bouillabaisse.
I love the challenge of a hand rolled, folded and turned puff pastry made with flour, water and butter. However, it is very time consuming and easy to mess up. To save time, I suggest buying a good quality puff pastry that’s pre-made. Many of the finer supermarkets carry puff pastry (my Whole Foods sells Dufour Pastry Kitchens, a local, New York City brand).
To create visual excitement and convey the contents of the lobster puff pastry pizza, use cookie cutters to make tiny puff pastry lobsters, scallops and fishes. For me, the best part of making this pizza is assembling the cooked pizza on a serving platter and garnishing it with the puff pastry seafood creatures. Magnifique!
Like most pizzas, this Bouillabaisse pizza recipe is best when it’s made fresh and served immediately as puff pastry is more fragile than traditional pizza dough. Everything can be prepared ahead of time, and the crust baked and pizza assembled just before serving. Serve with a simple salad, light dessert, and a cold glass of bubbly champagne.
Happy Valentine's Day.
Thaw frozen puff pastry according to the package directions OR prepare homemade puff pastry. Roll puff pastry to a thickness between a quarter and an eighth of an inch thick. Cut your pizzas into whatever size or shape you like. I made 6 x 11 inch rectangles using a homemade pre-measured piece of parchment paper as a stencil so my crust would fit exactly onto my platter (recommended). I also cut four half inch by 6” pieces and four half inch by 11” pieces to “fortify” the perimeter of the rectangles with mini walls to visually (and literally) hold the sauce and toppings on the puff pastry crust. You can easily make individual or medium pizzas using whatever shapes and sizes your cookie sheets and imagination can accommodate – circles, squares, a large fish or scallop shape, even a fishing boat. That’s the joy of working with puff pastry. If your dough becomes warm refrigerate for 15 minutes and proceed. Warm dough will not puff. After making the pizza crust, bake immediately – directions below -- or refrigerate the newly cut shapes on a sheet of parchment paper. Proceed with making the optional garnishes using either additional puff pastry or scraps from making the crust. You can make puff pastry garnishes by hand or with fun shaped cookie cutters. Be sure to keep the dough cold and minimize the amount of handling to preserve the hundreds of layers that give puff pastry its “puffiness”. As with the crust, bake immediately or cover and store the shapes on parchment paper in the refrigerator until ready to bake. It’s best to roll and cut puff pastry as near to baking time as possible. An hour and fifteen minutes before serving Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). For thin, crisp crust, roll puff pastry to between one-eighth and one-quarter inch thick on a well-floured surface. Using a knife and ruler, and cookie cutters, make your puff pastry dough shapes. For the pizza crust, cut the bottom crust of the pizza to a 6 x 12 inch rectangle and cut miniature walls for the top of the crust (two – ½ x 6 inch and two ½ x 12 inch). You will need two crusts for this recipe. For the decorative cookies, use cookie cutters such as a lobster, fish, and seashells to add fun to your pizza presentation. Place crusts and cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and pierce several holes in the bottom shell with a fork to deflate some of the puffiness and get a crust more like a traditional crust that better accommodates toppings. It’s important to work quickly with the dough as warm puff pastry dough turns to mush and will lose its puff. If necessary, return cut shapes to the refrigerator before baking to keep the dough chilled. Cook pastry until golden brown and crisp (20-30 minutes or more depending on the size and thickness of the shape). Leave the crust on the parchment paper and cookie sheet since the pizza will go back into the oven to heat the toppings and melt the cheese.