Exploring New Horizons with Pizza

Tuxedo Turkey (or Chicken) Pizza

Before we dive into this new recipe, it is important to note that I am an avid pizza lover. I have a passion for pizza that goes well beyond the freezer or Friday night take-out. In fact, I even have a personal ranking system for take-out pizza based on taste, crunch, and overall ‘cheese coverage’.  Needless to say, I am a pizza-snob. So when I came across this recipe, I was hesitant to substitute traditional pizza sauce with Italian Dressing and mayonnaise. Boy was I in for a revelation!

My journey began where all new recipes begin…at the grocery store. In my case, this was the Publix down the street from my apartment. Ingredients were easy to find with the exception of focaccia bread. Apparently certain Publix stores don’t make focaccia bread so I used the recipe’s alternative suggestion and purchased a prebaked Boboli crust. The recipe also gives the option for using chicken instead of turkey.  Since chicken was on sale, I opted for this option as well. Score!

When I arrived home and got settled, I immediately took out the sundried tomatoes and put them in piping hot water so that they could begin to soak for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and baked my chicken so that it would be ready the same time as the tomatoes. Chicken usually takes around 20 minutes to bake-through so I made the vegetable mixture with the Italian Dressing while everything was baking and/or soaking. I love multi-tasking! Once everything was ready, I pulled out the Boboli crust, placed it on a pizza pan, spread three tablespoons of light mayonnaise on the crust, and then piled on the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.  According to the recipe, only two slices of provolone cheese are required to cover the pizza, so I divided the slices into fourths, placed the cheese on the pizza, and then placed it all in the oven for about 5 to 8 minutes until I saw the cheese had melted. Then I took it out of the oven, poured my vegetable mixture on the center of the pizza, and began to eat!!

My first reaction was wow! The mayonnaise mixed with the Italian dressing made a creamy and tangy sauce that paired great with the vegetables on top. The pizza itself came across as a lighter dish, and I felt somewhat healthy as I ate it! There was plenty left over so feel free to make this for more than two people. My roommate and I still had plenty left over for lunch the next day. My only regret with this recipe is that I should’ve used more mayo, salad dressing, and cheese to cover the pizza more. The amounts in the recipe were recommended for focaccia bread which has a much smaller circumference than pizza crust. So next time (yes I said next time) I will put on more of each of the ingredients to cover the crust.

Recipe: Tuxedo Turkey Pizza

2 Tbls. Dry-pack sundried tomatoes, julienned
½ C. Fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Can (2.25 Oz.) Ripe olives, drained, sliced
¼ C. Red onion, finely chopped
3 Tbs. Fat-free Italian salad dressing or White Wine Vinaigrette
3 Tbs. Mayonnaise 1 Loaf (16 oz.) Herb focaccia bread or prebaked boboli crust
8 Oz. Turkey (or chicken) strips, cooked, boneless, skinless
2 Slices (2 Oz.) Provolone cheese, cut into strips   

Preheat oven to 350° F. Soak tomatoes in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Combine mushrooms, olives, red onion and dressing. Set aside. Spread mayonnaise on focaccia. Top with tomatoes, turkey and cheese. Place focaccia on foil-lined pizza or cookie sheet. Heat at 350° F. until cheese is melted and focaccia is heated thoroughly (about 5 minutes). Top pizza with mushroom mixture. Cut into wedges and serve with fresh fruit.

Yield: 4 Servings

Laurel Sprague
The Association of Dressings & Sauces