Desert Island Dishes (Contest Results)

Seychelles house

Many thanks to those of you who participated in the Desert Island Dishes contest! It was a treat to read through your entries.

It was hard to pick just three, but it had to be done, and Thomas Blythe and I narrowed it down to the following, which showed inventiveness and common sense, and just plain made us hungry. Their authors will receive a Desert Island Dishes cookbook and a Maldon seasoning box.

Amy:

“Dumplings. Not only will dumplings keep my belly full, I can pack them with veggies for vitamins and flavor. Dumplings also serve as medicine for the heart, keeping me connected to home and reminding me that I have a family that loves me. The recipe I’ll make is for ground chicken dumplings with chives, carrots, and celery with a good glug of sesame oil.

The tools I’ll need are a slender rolling pin for making dumpling skins, a wooden cutting board for chopping the vegetables, a meat cleaver for making ground chicken by hand, a pot for boiling the dumplings, and a strainer for lifting them out.

Oh, and if possible, a pair of wooden chopsticks would be my treasure on the island.”

Esme:

“Whenever I make pizza dough, my basic recipe yields enough dough for 4 pizzas, each pizza serving 2 to 4 people, depending on how hungry they are. I divide up the dough and store it refrigerated and make pizza each night until it’s used up.

I always begin the cycle believing that I’ll grow tired of pizza, but each time I take that first bite, my husband beats me to the punch and says, “You can make this for dinner every night and I’d be a happy man”.

The equipment needed is basic for life on a desert island: a bowl to make the dough in, a wood-fire, with smooth rocks laid over the hot coals on which the pizza can cook, and a pizza peel (to assemble the ingredients on top of the dough and move it to the hot rocks to cook).

The ingredients for my pizza (in addition to a mix of 00, semolina and all-purpose flours, yeast, olive oil, salt and a touch of honey for the dough) include a basic tomato sauce (made with San Marzano tomatoes, basil, garlic and salt) smeared over the dough, torn fresh basil sprinkled on top of the sauce, freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, grated provolone, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano, thin slices of prosciutto placed across the top, and a fresh raw egg cracked and opened on the center of the pizza once the pizza has been placed on the hot rocks. Take care not to break the yolk!

When the white of the egg is set (the yolk will still be runny), the cheese will be melted, the dough crusty — the pizza is ready to eat.

I can eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, anytime and any day, everyday. It is that good.”

Cassandra:

“Grilled Pineapple with Dark Chocolate (70% or higher) and a little sprinkling of Maldon; all you need is a knife, a metal skewer and something to start a fire.

In the absence of fire, Italian plums macerated with honey, sprinkled with Maldon also works beautifully.

Can’t resist turning the desert island into a dessert island!”

Congratulations to all three! You can follow all things Desert Island Dishes on Maldon’s twitter, with new contests every Wednesday.

  • Jeni

    YUM to all three! I think I would pick my moms split pea and ham stew: it’s thick, salty, smokey from the ham hock and reminds me of home. Followed, of course, by the quintessential chocolate chip cookie (NY Times recipe, preferably.) Sweet, savory, and perfectly comforting all around.

  • Liz Thomas

    What delicious ideas!

    Esme, your pizza sounds wonderful. I have been meaning to make pizza from scratch for years but never seem to get around to it, which is just silly as I make my own bread so have no fear of working with yeast. You have encouraged me to get on with it. Would you be willing to share your dough recipe?

    I love Maldon salt and each year bring boxes back from the UK. It is so expensive here.

    I’ve just been on Amazon and have added the book to my wish list. Have to wait a while though as I spent a fortune on books and magazines in the UK!

    Thanks Clotilde, this topic has been a great read.

    Cheers!
    Liz

  • Esme Cape

    Liz, it is my absolute pleasure to share my pizza dough recipe!

    I generally use the dough cycle on my bread machine, but I have done it by hand with the same results.

    You can also play around with the ratio of all-purpose to semolina and 00 flours; this is the ratio that we tend to prefer. You can use all 00 flour which will yield a really soft and luxuriously ‘sexy’ dough (experiment to appreciate that – I don’t know how else to describe it).

    Ingredients for 4 6-inch pizzas:

    1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
    2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
    2 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
    1/2 cup of semolina flour
    1/2 cup of 00 flour
    1 scant tablespoon honey
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some additional for coating the bowl/greasing the trays
    2 teaspoons Kosher salt

    Preparing the dough in a bread machine:
    Place the water and yeast in the basket and let stand for 5 minutes.

    Then add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed (salt last) and turn the machine on the ‘dough’ cycle. [It takes about 1 1/2 hours in my machine.]

    Preparing the dough by hand:
    In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes.

    Using a sieve or strainer, “sift” about half of the flour over the yeast mixture and blend until smooth with your hands. Add the salt and honey and mix to blend. Sift in the remaining flour and mix to blend.

    Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.

    Press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, rolling each quarter into a loose ball. If not using all of the dough at this time, pour about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a ziplock storage bag, spread the oil around by squeezing the closed bag on a counter-top, then place one of the dough balls in its own ziplock. Store refrigerated until ready to proceed to making into pizza:

    Place a dough ball on a floured surface, cover with a clean kitchen towel (if from the refrigerator allow to come to room temperature), and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten the dough ball and roll into a 6-inch round. Sprinkle a pizza peel with coarsely ground cornmeal and place the rolled out pizza dough on the top. [I fold the edge of the pizza under to make a lip/crust on the dough so that the ingredients won't drip off during baking.]

    Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (this helps to prevent the crust from getting soggy), and then add toppings. I spread the tomato sauce on top first, followed by torn basil leaves, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, prosciutto, and then cover everything with a thin layer of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano. After the pizza is placed on the pizza stone in the oven or on the grill, I carefully place the raw eggs on top.

    You can make this in the oven on a pizza stone or as I do (rain or shine) on the grill outdoors (also on a pizza stone). Both oven and grill need to be preheated (with the stone placed) to about 450 – 500 degrees F before sliding the pizza from the peel onto the stone.

    For extra depth of flavor, I add cherry- or apple-wood chips to the grill in a smoke box (after the grill is up to temperature, place the smoker box on the grill and wait about 5 minutes for it to begin to smoke).

    I also rotate the pizza about halfway through. On my grill it takes about 6 minutes and then I rotate the pizza 180 degrees, and let it go another 6 minutes. After you remove the pizza from the grill, it needs to rest for a couple of minutes for the cheese to set up. It’s because of that that I’ve taken to frying the eggs (over easy) on the stove top and sliding it onto the resting pizza. The eggs take just the right amount of time to cook that it takes the cheese to set up.

    Right before cutting, I grind some black pepper over the top of the pizza.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    And thank you!

  • Liz Thomas

    Hi Esme,

    I do apologise for taking so long to reply to you and thank you for this. Have not been checking for quite a few days.

    Anyway, thank you so very much — already cut and pasted into my recipe files, credited to you, and printed out to put where I can see it to remind me to give it a go.

    Your description of “sexy” dough made me laugh! My husband will love that! I’ll be doing the initial mix in my Kenwood but I always finish the kneading by hand.

    Thanks again, I really do appreciate your taking the time and trouble to type it all out so clearly for me.

    Congratulations on being a Winner!

    Cheers and all best
    Liz

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