A few weeks ago Mike and I brainstormed on what a Bratwurst Pizza might look like. Our first attempt with a mustard sauce, onions, peppers, bratwurst, and Swiss cheese proved to be a disappointment. It was bland, definitely not what we were hoping for. Since that time I have been thinking on how I might improve the recipe. We gave it another try. . .with much better results! We used the same German rye crust we used in the original recipe because we had both liked it. While the dough was finishing, I sliced half of a Vidalia onion (I do live in Georgia, y'all!), 1 green pepper and 1 red pepper and let the vegetables marinate in about 1/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar for about half an hour.
Marinating the Veggies
Then I stir fried them in olive oil much like I've done for fajitas. I didn't use vinegar in the original recipe; I had just stir-fried the the onion and peppers in olive oil. As I considered German food like saurbraten and German potato salad, it seemed some sort of vinegar would give the vegetables the brightness I was looking for. Along with the tart of the vinegar though, I was wanting some sweetness in the veggies. I didn't want to use sugar because I was afraid it might be gritty. Rice vinegar ended up having the perfect balance of sweet and sour. I thought it was ironic to use an Asian vinegar on a German-style pizza! Now that the vegetables had a little zing, I tackled the sauce which had been the major problem. I wanted a nice mustard tang and my original recipe was much too bland. I started by reducing the water from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup, thinking that would keep the mustard from being diluted. Even after I made the sauce with less water though, it still tasted a bit on the bland side. I whisked in 2 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard and BINGO, it was exactly the flavor I had been going for!
1/3 c. water
2 T. vinegar
2 T. white wine
2 t. ground mustard
1-2 T. sugar
¼ t. ground coriander
Bring to a boil and thicken with 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water.Stir in 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard.
Spooning on the vegetables. . .careful not to get any of the liquid!
Fennel seed. . .the perfect complement to the other flavors in this pizza!
I topped the crust with the sauce. Then I arranged the vegetables over the sauce using a slotted spoon so liquid wouldn't get on the pizza and soak the crust. I sprinkled on about a teaspoon of fennel seed and then drizzled on a bit of the sauce I had left. The fennel was a last minute inspiration as I was thinking of German rye bread, and it really was the perfect complement to the other flavors in this pizza. Over the veggies and fennel I arranged slices of 3 grilled Johnsonville Beer 'n Bratwurst that had been sitting on paper towels to absorb the grease.
I topped it all off with shredded smoked Gouda cheese rather than Swiss. The smokiness of the Gouda and the smooth way it melted made it the perfect choice for this pizza. As we were devouring this scrumptious pizza we watched We bought a Zoo, the story of a widower that buys a failing zoo. It is based on a true story and was not at all what I expected. I was expecting a movie full of humorous gags that was more geared toward children. This is a family film, but it goes much deeper than a bunch of slap stick to make children laugh. Mike and I really enjoyed it and would encourage you to see it if you haven't already.