We’re suckers for any dish that even remotely resembles pizza (particularly after a late night). So naturally we were drawn to the idea of Pepperoni Toast, a recipe that appears in the new cookbook by Raquel Pelzel entitled, appropriately, Toast ($25; purchase here).
But while the initial attraction to the recipe might have been based off of a genre-wide love, we quickly came to see this recipe for its full range of smart appeal. At the base is pepperoni butter, a rich condiment that has endless applications (a statement that we’re excited to put to the test). It’s the kind of quick and easy hat trick that we cherish as cooks, a dart that can get to the center of a satisfying meal without any extra time spent.
It turns out that Pelzel’s entire cookbook functions like this. Make fun of toast if you want, but by doing so you’ll miss out on one of the best short-hands in cooking. We’re ready to go on a toast-for-dinner diet thanks to recipes like macademia nut-cardamom buttered toast, banh mi schmear toast, and roasted beets with labne and saffron honey on toast.
Good thing, then, that we’ve signed Raquel on as one of our 2016 Short Stack authors! Look for her edition next summer…there may or may not be toast involved.
Cheesy Pepperoni Butter Toast
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces unsliced pepperoni, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 3/4-inch thick slices country-style bread
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut crosswise into 8 pieces
1/4 cup roughly chopped or torn fresh basil leaves
Coarse kosher or flaky salt
Make the pepperoni butter: In a food processor, combine the butter, pepperoni, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes and process until well combined. The final mixture should be semi-smooth.
Make the toast: Spread a generous amount of the pepperoni butter over each slice of bread. Heat the broiler to high and place the toast on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toast the bread under the broiler until the butter has melted completely, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the toast from the oven and place 2 pieces of mozzarella over each bread slice (overlapping if necessary). Return the toast to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and browned, 2 to 3 minutes (watch the cheese closely as the broiler intensities vary).
To serve, top each toast with 1 tablespoon basil and sprinkle with salt.
Recipe adapted from Toast: The Cookbook by Raquel Pelzel (Phaidon, 2015)
Photos by Evan Sung