Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
These little pizzas bring back fond memories of my childhood in Lucas Valley. I remember Mrs. Denglar making these once and I never forgot them. I must have been 8 years old but the memory is as clear as yesterday. Years later I recreated them and have been surprising people with this simple but satisfying cheesy delight. It contains so many of my favorite foods... black olives, mayonnaise, scallions, cheese and bread. What more could you ask for?
Start by partially toasting your English Muffins. I like the muffins to be crispy and that just won't happen in the ten minutes required to melt the cheese. My toaster oven has four settings and I use the second from the bottom. The muffins should just be starting to harden. It may take you a few tries to find the best setting. Thanks goodness you don't need to worry about the brand of English Muffins. I've tried all sorts of English Muffins and Thomas' English Muffins are absolutely the best. Don't mess around and just get these classic muffins.
The topping is a simple mixture of cheese, mayonnaise, black olives and green onions. You want the mayonnaise to just coat the rest of the ingredients. Too little mayonnaise and they don't taste right. Too much mayonnaise and say hello to heartburn city.
Call me crazy but I slice my own olives. They are much fresher when they are whole and it only takes a few minutes to slice them with a sharp knife. The same goes for shredded cheese. Just shred it yourself. Pre-shredded packaged brands contain cellulose... added to keep the cheese from sticking. Most cellulose is made from wood pulp and I have sworn off birch this week.
I like big chunks of green onion so don't cut them too small. Include the dark green portion of the onion for contrast even though it doesn't have much taste. Try a slice of the dark green versus the light green or white portion of the scallion. I'm sure you will agree there is almost no taste in the dark green part.
The easiest way to get the cheese topping on the muffins is to get dirty. Pretend you are making hamburger patties and form balls of the cheese mixture. When you have twelve even balls of goodness, smash them on top of each muffin like you would a hamburger on a grill. If you try to scoop the topping on each muffin with, let's say a spoon, it will end up going everywhere and each muffin will have a varying degree of topping.
In a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven place the muffins in for 10 to 12 minutes, or longer if you like. It all depends on how bubbly you want your cheese. My wife loves it when the cheese melts down onto the pan and crisps up. Really, that's all she eats since she's not a big fan of carbohydrates. She doesn't know what she's missing!
Thanks. Glad you like my approach. I'm trying to do something a little different than other food blogs by teaching techniques and reasons behind food choices. My articles tend to be a little longer but hopefully more informative.