I made a little pizza... alright, alot of pizza... earlier this week and somehow wound up with one piece of dough left over. I've been feeling a little more on the carnivorous side lately, so I was looking for something to fit the mood. What could be better than Stromboli?? I mean, look at it- you have some dough wrapped around meat, cheese, some more meat, maybe some peppers and onions, or even mushrooms, and did I mention the meat? Given my limited choices for supplies out here, I decided to make use of everything I could get my hands on. (I have actually been thinking about making one of these following a recent 'discovery' in the fridge at work- someone brought one in and for some reason thought it would be safe when left alone all day... it was GREAT... that stromboli and its owner have been rooted in my mind for quite a while now)
Ok- first I assembled my ingredients- four meats, three cheeses, two peppers, and one dough. I popped the peppers in the broiler to roast for a while; I wanted a little something sweet to offset all the cured meats. While they roasted, I grated some Pecorino Romano (personal favorite), grabbed some mozzarella left from the pizza the night before, and got the rest of the ingredients out.
I began working to dough out on the board, doing my best to acheive an even depth and somewhat even dimensions on the sides. Once the dough was out, I started with a layer of Romano. I was hoping that the dry (relative to everything else) consistency of the cheese would allow it to soak up what I knew could turn into a flood of oil.
Next, I layed down a layer of mozz that had already been shredded for the pizza... a nice layer of it to help with the foundation. I figured this could only help to serve as a good base with the Romano. Next came my favorite part... the meat. I wasn't sure which to start with, whether the order would have big affect on how the flavors hit you. I realized I was over-thinking this and fished the salami off the top of the pile. I broke open the package and, after making sure it wasn't poisoned, added that as the next layer in what was beginning to be a large pile of food.
My sense of fairness (spurred by a healthy dose of OCD) dictated that following the salami there should be another layer of cheese. I almost felt as if my brick laying ancestors were standing over my shoulder, urging me to put a little mortar in there between the layers to help hold it all together. Looking at this photo, you may notice what seems to be only half a piece of slicing provolone in my hand... There is actually a funny story that goes with that. See, I as I stood there carefully adding the provolone to this artistic masterpiece, a piece fell to the counter, where the other half (not pictured) broke off, bounced up off the counter, hit the fluorescent bulbs, fell back, paused in mid-air, changed direction and flew directly into my mouth as I stood there agape and astonished... and that is exactly how it happened!! It was all I could do to avoid choking on it...
Moving on... I continued to add my layers- some capicola, more mozz, and some pepperoni... I wanted to add more to it, but, as I mentioned, my supplies are limited... heathens don't even have a decent ham around here (someone in NY wanna send me a nice pound of thin sliced Boar's Head?). So I threw down one more layer of salami, topped it with one more layer of provolone to provide a solid casing all around within the dough, and there she was... ready to go
Carefully, I folded the top over the meat and cheese and meat delight I had created. I tucked the edges together, methodically kneading the ends of dough together, until they melded into a single piece. Quick... someone tell me what I forgot!!?!? OK- all of you who were paying attention know its the roasted peppers. I couldn't believe it... I really wanted to get those in there to offset the salt from the meat, but once the dough was sealed, there was no opening it. So I did the next best thing... I laid them on top...
I cut the dough (the way a good corner man can cut a fighter's eye) to allow any excessive liquids or air to bleed out in the cooking process, brushed it with some egg, and got it into the oven.
What came out later, besides an unbelievably great aroma of meat cooking, was nothing short
of encapsulated golden perfection- at least as far as I was concerned... but I was hungry, so that may have slanted my perspective a little bit. Tell the truth though... it does look good, doesn't it? And those peppers... niiiice, hmmm?
I had some left over tomato sauce from the weekend and it seemed like a natural pair... Bogey and Bacall, if you will. So I set it out and cut into the 'boli. The hot 'boli with the cold sauce... what a combo.. it was fantastic.
Now the beauty of the stromboli is that, when wrapped and refrigerated, it can last a few days. In theory. I had visions of showing up with mine at work for breakfast (any mo-mo could have it for lunch), watching my co workers turn green with envy. It would have been perfect. But, alas, it was not to be. That 'boli stood about as much chance of staying safe as a fat-cheeked little boy in a room of Grandmothers... it was gonna get pinched. I say with more than a little pride, I finished that beautiful work of carnivorous art in one day. It was fantastic and I have no regrets. Between the meats, the sauce, and those peppers... Mamma Mia... what a day I had!!
So... if you find yourself with a little extra dough and you want to throw together something that will really keep you going all week (remember- 'In Theory'), get all the makings and put together a nice artistic 'boli for yourself. This one is worth all the time and effort involved. 'Cause Johnny Tomatoes says so!!