Pizza Lab #1: Honey Mustard Chicken Finger
So what is Pizza Lab you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Meg A. and myself don some labcoats, lock ourselves in a laboratory with pizza ingredients, and go balls to the wall until something amazing happens. Well, at least that’s how it goes down in my head. More realistically, it was the result of us wanting to make pizzas together, never having done so. So we devised the idea of Pizza Lab, a column in which we brainstorm the most random pizza abominations which, as far as we know, don’t really exist in the mainstream pizza industry. The results are recorded (with an expensive, enormous camera) and then discussed here. Essentially we just remark on whether it was edible or not, and if it’s worth actually making again. Without further ado then…
Honey Mustard Chicken Finger Pizza
This is exactly what it sounds like. Any diner, food franchise, bowling alley, family restaurant, snack truck, rest stop, and planet in the freaking solar system serves chicken fingers, and you love them. Even you too, vegetarians. Deep-fried, battered chicken tenderloins, served with ketchup and/or honey mustard. In this case, sliced and thrown onto a pizza with the aforementioned honey dijon in place of tomato sauce. The combination of salty chicken and tangy mustard results in a pizza that’s almost sweet enough to be served at dessert. On second thought, it’s better than dessert. If someone told me I could only have a slice of red velvet cake, or this pizza, I’d take the pizza (not withstanding that I could simply break their shins and take both).
For starters, I determined that rather than buy frozen chicken fingers, I’d instead make them homemade. This was partially out of sheer laziness, which is somewhat ironic since in being too lazy to go to the store and buy them I actually made more work for myself by doing them from scratch. Nothing fancy, a simple batter with buttermilk instead of egg.
Erik S. The chicken fingers weren’t bad on their own either. I should try making them exclusively, sometime.
Meg A. Yeah they were pretty good, but definitely should have been smaller though. I think they were a bit big to be classified as fingers… They were more like… hands.
Erik S. Well, they could’ve been the fingers of someone with Elephantiasis.
Meg A. Ah, I didn’t realize. How insensitive of me.
Given that I was occupied with frying five times as much chicken as we would actually need for the pizza, Meg A. was tasked with preparing the dough. Apparently the bakery it came from is unaware “dough relaxer” is an existent product, frequently used in pizza making, since the dough itself refused to mold to the pan and took nearly as long as the chicken did. A base layer of honey mustard was laid as a sticky, tangy groundwork for the pizza.
Erik S. How long did it take you to prepare the dough?
Meg A. I was working on it for awhile… I had to start over because I just had too many holes that wouldn’t seal up. Eventually I was like, “fuck this” and folded it back in on itself and started re-stretching it until I finally won the war against the dough.
Erik S. Good. That’s a war we can’t afford to lose, either. Fuck the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illiteracy… Springy dough is America’s #1 threat.
Meg A. It is. And yet so many people don’t even know. I think it’s time to start a campaign.
After cutting the chicken into pieces, it was laid en masse onto the newly defeated dough. Mozzarella was the cheese of choice to top it off.
Erik S. At first I was nervous about the chicken breading since it didn’t cook fully. I was afraid it might not be safe to eat. But then I remembered it was buttermilk instead of egg, so thats totally edible.
Meg A. Yeah. Though I mean, for the pizza even if it wasn’t fully cooked then by the time it was done in the oven it would have been.
Erik S. Good point. I just didnt want to end up giving us salmonella/food poisoning in the very first and thus last edition of Pizza Lab.
Meg A. Haha. But of course, there’s always a bit of danger in science!
Erik S. Also, buttermilk is a funny concept. It’s either milk that spoiled, or in this case fresh milk that you ruin by pouring vinegar into it. It’s good to live in the first world where you can destroy your good food which starving people would love to have, in order to create junk food which is less nutritious.
It was loaded into the oven, where it would then bake for approximately… actually I don’t fucking remember. Until it looked done. Good, satisfied? It’s not very scientific, but seriously who cares. Have you ever looked at a finished pizza before? Bam. You now know when to take a pizza out of the oven.
And also one more application of honey mustard to garnish and make it prominently delicious.
Erik S. The final product was awesome, if I do say so. I’d seriously consider it to be one of my favorite pizzas I’ve ever eaten.
Meg A. It was indeed rather awesome. My mom had one of the leftover pieces I brought home. She said it was… interesting.
Erik S. “Interesting” is usually polite peoples’ way of saying they hate something.
Meg A. She probably would have liked it better if she’d had it out of the oven. It reheated fairly well, but was definitely better fresh.
Erik S. She’s too old man. She doesn’t get “it” man. Not like us young kids man. Computers, jean pants, rock ‘n’ roll man, whoaaa. Man.
Meg A. She’s just not a true pizza enthusiast like us.
Erik S. True. You do need to be a 20-something-year-old slacker who watches repeats of Baggage on a regular basis, to really “get” pizza.
So that’s that. The results were highly successful. There’s not much left to say. We’ve agreed that in the future the pizza would benefit from the addition of some mild cheddar. It would have to be mild, since sharp would ruin the whole sweet and smooth taste it has going. Sorta like eating a baby deer raw. You wouldn’t put sharp cheddar on a baby deer would you?
Honey Mustard Chicken Finger Pizza