When we were young, my mom introduced me, my sister and my brother to a couple of quick and fun ways to make pizza at home. One method involved flattening canned biscuits and topping them with leftover red gravy and whatever else we could find in the fridge. Ham, bacon, black olives, onions and cheese made frequent appearances. We loved the novelty of those pizzas and made them frequently, especially for afterschool snacks. The other style was French bread pizza. As the name suggests, the base of those pizzas was French bread. And again, the toppings were open to whatever was lingering in the pantry and refrigerator. As the years passed, the biscuit pizzas sort of fell by the wayside, at least with me. But those French bread ones? They’re still a big deal in my house.
One of the best things about French bread pizzas is that they can be prepared in advance and frozen. That’s great for entertaining and for last-minute munchies. My Crab Bread and my Spinach Bread are basically kicked up versions of French Bread pizzas. Many New Orleanians have their own interpretations of those two French bread pizzas and it’s not uncommon for one or both types to be offered at every family gathering or party. I’ve been making those two versions for decades (oh, that makes me sound old). This little number I’m sharing with you today is a more recent creation. It’s my South Louisiana spin on the classic Italian dish of sausage and peppers and it’s all things sweet and spicy, crunchy and chewy.
The perfect compliment to this perfect finger food is a smooth, refreshing and moderately hoppy brew. When we were in Disney back in June, I discovered the Racer 5 IPA on draft in Epcot. Boy, was it tasty and timely! It quenched my thirst and made me forget about my aching feet, at least temporarily. This particular beer is a pleasantly balanced American IPA from Bear Republic Brewing in California whose prominent citrus and pine notes will playoff the porky goodness of the pizza in the best way.
Until next time …
Andouille French Bread Pizza Recipe
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf French bread (about 18-inches long), sliced in half lengthwise
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
1 large jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups grated provolone cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in oregano and salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat. Place bread cut side up on a large baking sheet. Brush half the garlic butter evenly over bread; set aside. Add andouille to remaining garlic butter in pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer andouille to paper towels to drain. Add onions and peppers to pan; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spread half the cheese evenly over the bread slices. Bake until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is just melted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven, top with andouille, onions, peppers and remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 6-8 appetizer servings.