Even though I shouldn't, I always crack a, all-knowing smile when people turn up their noses and say, "We don't eat at chain restaurants." Really? You never eat at chain restaurants. Please.
Sure, if M and I were to create a list of our favorite eateries, it would not be filled with places like Applebee's, Chili's, and Cracker Barrel. But we all have those times and places where we want a low-key, low-cost, reliable meal. When we find ourselves in that spot, one of the places M and I go is California Pizza Kitchen. We both like the Thai Crunch salad but find the Thai Chicken Pizza to be too sticky and strangely sweet. But with just a few simple adaptations to a copycat recipe, we now have a new pizza to enjoy at home. And as long as I have some pizza dough in the freezer, we can easily get that low-key, even lower-cost meal at home!
Thai Chicken Pizza
adapted from www.food.com
For the sauce:
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/3 c. hoisin sauce
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 tsp. minced ginger
3 minced garlic cloves
2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. chili sauce (such as Sambal Oelek)
1 TBSP fish sauce
2-3 tsp. water
For the pizza:
cornmeal, for dusting
1/2 recipe basic pizza dough
olive oil for brushing crust
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella
4 scallions, slivered diagonally
1/2 c. bean sprouts
1/4 c. shredded carrot
3 TBSP peanuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil for one minute. Divide sauce into two portions. Combine one portion with chicken and reserve the other.
2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees Farenheit.
3. Dust working surface with cornmeal. Roll out pizza dough and cover with as much of the reserved sauce as you wish. Brush uncovered bordered with olive oil. Sprinkle half the cheese over the sauce, then top with chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the chicken, then top with scallion, bean sprouts, and carrots.
4. Place pizza on pizza stone using a pizza peel or large spatulas. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and golden. Remove pizza from oven and top with peanuts and cilantro. Let cool for three minutes, then serve.