Top This

Learn how to work a new topping onto your pies.

Top This: The Quadruple Chili Threat

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Last weekend, with Serious Eats fresh on the heels of a pepperoni taste test and a pepper jack cheese taste test, myself fresh on the heels of a just-starting-to-fade hangover, and a kitchen stocked with pickled jalapeños and a freshly cracked jar of red chili flakes, I did some quick mental math and came up with an equation that would take care of all these loose variables.

It went something like this.

Take a large pinch of red pepper flakes, cook them in oil, and add them to some basic New York pizza sauce. Smear the mixture onto a round disk of stretched pizza dough.

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Divide the grated cheese evenly across the surface, then add some thick-sliced hot Spanish chorizo. Multiply your heat factor by distributing chopped pickled jalapeños all over the surface.

Bake until hot and bubbly, then sit back and wait as your hangover slowly subtracts itself.

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Seriously, it's a tasty combo. I'd never tried jack-style cheese on a pizza before, much less pepper jack, but it makes total sense. As a high-moisture cheese, jack melts extremely well—at least as well as the dry mozzarella you'd typically put on a New York-style slice. On top of that, it's got a nice tang that's buttressed by the spicy peppers embedded in the cheese.

All that pepper jack fat mingles with rendered chorizo fat and the pickled jalapeño juices. It's hot and tangy and oh so delicious.

What's that? You're saying it's a little too similar to my pepperoni and pickled banana pepper pie? Have some pity. I was hungover, ferchrissake.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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