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I’ve been known to deconstruct TV dinners and add my own semi-homemade magic to the dish. It’s mostly just me trying to show off. “Oh, you’re having a frozen pizza honey? Me too. With garlic seared shrimp, micro basil and a few dollops of chèvre. Don’t hate.” Sandra Lee, this one’s for you.
I started with a Roasted Vegetable Kashi pizza. I love their pizzas, because I feel like I can eat the whole thing by myself since they are health food. What? I can’t? Great. Thanks for ruining it for me.
We’d just come from a weekend visit to the D.C. Fisherman’s Wharf with a half-pound of jumbo tiger shrimp on ice. I was starving and wanted a quick canvas for my seafood stash. I skimmed the fridge and saw the micro basil I’d picked up the morning before from the farmer’s market, and all I can say is genius took hold. No, really. It was brilliant.
Here’s what I did – and don’t worry, you can do it too.
1 frozen Kashi Roasted Vegetable Pizza
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ small yellow onion
½ large red bell pepper
1 portabella mushroom
2 cloves of fresh garlic
12 jumbo shrimp
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
6 basil leaves (don’t worry, you don’t need micro basil. Just use the fresh stuff)
6 tablespoons of chèvre
A pinch of crushed red chile peppers (optional)
Preheat your oven according to the box directions on the Kashi pizza. While the oven is heating, start your prep work. Peel and slice the onion half into thin slices. Stem and seed your bell pepper, then slice half of it into thin ¼ inch strips. Wipe down and slice your mushroom into ¼ inch slices. Now, peel and mince your garlic. Are you still with me? Don’t worry – this isn’t the hardest thing you’ve been through. Remember your first breakup? Okay, you’ve got this. Peel and devein your shrimp, and please remove the tails. Unless you like eating crunchy shrimp butts.
Season your shrimp with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Get a large skillet on the stove and turn on your heat to medium high. Add your oil. When the oil first smokes, toss in your onion and cook for about six minutes, until soft and caramelized. Right about now, your oven should be yelling at you that it’s ready to cook. Put your pizza in and set the timer according to the box’s directions.
Now, add your bell pepper, crushed chiles, and mushrooms to the pan. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper onto the veggies. Be light with it, you can always add more later. Cook for another four to five minutes until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through and the bell peppers have lost their will to live. Your pizza may be done. If so, pull it out and set it aside. Keep your oven on for a few more minutes. You may need her again.
Now, once the mushrooms and peppers and onions are smelling all nice and stuff, it’s time to add the garlic and the shrimp. Do me a huge favor and back off with your spatula. I see you. You’re trying to make magic happen by bullying those poor shrimp into cooking evenly. Leave them be. You want them to cook on one side for at least four minutes. This will give them a little caramelized coloring and a deeper flavor. Once four minutes have passed, flip them and flip them good. Let them cook about three minutes on the other side before you turn off your heat. Taste the goods. If they need more salt, now’s your chance to add it.
Time to check your pizza. If it’s still nice and hot, move on to the next step. If it’s gone cold because you’re kind of slow in the kitchen (I’m not judging, I’m not) then place it back in the oven for about four minutes. Once it’s nice and hot and crispy again, move on to the final stage of movie-star pizza making.
Assemblage time. Spread an even layer of your onion-mushroom-pepper-garlic-shrimp mix over the cooked pizza. Roll up your basil leaves into a cigar and slice the roll into thin ribbons. Sprinkle those ribbons over the pizza. Finally, drop six chèvre bombs evenly across the pizza before you cut it into six overflowing slices.
I suppose you should share this pizza with people you love. Or at least like. But if you don’t, just know that there is someone out there who understands. That’s right. I’ve got you.