Big Sur & Breakfast Pizza
There are many perks to being a food blogger. Good food, great readers, and a comfy space in which to share my passions, among other things. One of those “other things” is occasionally being asked to review a hot-off-the-presses cookbook. I’m repeatedly blown away by how beautiful and savvy cookbooks have become in recent years, and The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook is certainly a stand-out among a worthy field of competitors. Any time I crack a new cookbook, I always flip the pages to look at the photos first. Big Sur’s certainly got stunning captures of both the recipes and the natural landscapes surrounding the restaurant’s tiny town that clings to the edge of California’s coast.
Once I finished my visual indulgence, I got down to business reading the text and choosing a recipe to test. After all, the prettiest of cookbooks is just a glorified paperweight if it’s recipe collection is a dud, isn’t it? I really loved reading the producer profiles that are peppered throughout the book – beekeeper, butcher, poke pole fisherman, hunter/forager, even porch farmers (a young couple that produces microgreens from their deck). All of these folks sell directly to Big Sur Bakery, and their products are featured in the book’s wholesome recipes. Reading these profiles reminds me of how different life is out on the west coast. I’m really rather certain there aren’t too many people here on the east coast making a living spearing fish in the surf to sell to local restaurants. If you know of someone doing this, please let me know as I’d love to tag along with them for a day!
Usually when I crack the cover of a new cookbook, I have a hard time deciding where to start with the actual cooking from its pages. Like a kid in a candy shop, everything I see is so tantalizing. Not that the recipes in Big Sur didn’t all read like the chalkboard menu of my dreams, but picking the first dish out of this book turned out to be very easy. I was immediately captivated by the photo of Breakfast Pizza and found myself brooding on the ingredient list (eggs and bacon on a pizza crust?!?) until I was able to find time to make the pizza for myself last weekend.
The concoction of a hungry and hurried chef right before a Saturday brunch service, this pizza proved incredibly tasty and satisfying. I have to admit that I’ve had my fair share of cold pizza for breakfast (mostly back in college, but once or twice since) and always felt a tad ashamed for eating this doughy dish so early in the day. Not so with Breakfast Pizza. It seems perfectly natural to chow down on this – morning, noon and night. In fact, after having it for dinner Sunday night, I happily had the (cold) leftovers for breakfast while driving to work on Monday.
This one is a definite repeat and earns The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook a spot on the top of the stack. I’m already thumbing through it, looking for the next recipe to try. I have to say, I’m very tempted to hop on a plane bound for California to visit the Big Sur Bakery in person. These folks seem like kindred spirits for sure, and I’d love to sit down at their long family-style table and chat about the food.
Do you have a cookbook from a restaurant that makes you want to go eat there, even if it’s on the other side of the country?
Big Sur Bakery Breakfast Pizza
1/2 batch of prepared pizza dough
6 strips of bacon
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
2 C. grated mozzarella
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. minced parsley
2 T. minced chives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and put in the baking stone or tray you’ll be using. Preheat oven at highest temperature possible while you prepare the pizza.
In a skillet, cook the bacon just until golden brown. Set aside on a paper towel.
Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel or heat-proof cutting board (or, if you have neither, try a sturdy piece of cardboard) with flour. On a floured surface, roll out the dough as thinly as possible and place on the pizza peel/board.
Sprinkle dough with cheeses and crumbled bacon bits. Make six little wells in the cheese (this helps keep the eggs from running off the sides) and crack an egg into each.
Carefully slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone or tray in the hot oven. Turn heat down to 450 F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking after a few minutes to rotate if one side is browning faster than the other.
When the crust is golden and the egg yolks set, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before sprinkling with herbs and shallot. Slice and serve immediately.
(serves 6-8 )