When I visited Oregon this May, B. and I drove up a huge snaky hill in search of the Brandy Peak distillery. It's a tiny brandy distillery near Brookings, Oregon, and it was totally worth the hunt. We arrived to be greeted by two jumpy labradors, and a SUPER nice lady who took a break from bottling their signature blackberry liqueur to show us around. Their brandy is distilled in ENORMOUS copper barrels, and the whole setup looks like a mad scientist's lab. We sampled all different kinds of brandy, and took home a special aged brandy, the blackberry stuff, and a bottle of Grappa. I had to get the grappa, because honestly - who makes that shit? After a sobering smoke and a few more belly rubs for the dogs, we were on our way.
Let me tell you -- nobody likes grappa, except old Italian men who have lost their wives. It takes a strong constitution to drink it straight, and it's more astringent than flavorful, but after some inspiration from the internet, I've discovered the joys of cooking with grappa.
I few months ago, I poached salmon with grappa, and it was FANTASTIC. Grappa reduces quickly, and if you're standing over the pan when you pour it in, you may very well get stinking drunk, just from breathing in the alcohol that the heat releases. But afterward, it smells AMAZING, and finally it reduces into a slightly sweet and immensely flavorful ingredient. So lately, everything that calls for white wine, I've substituted with grappa, as an experiment. If you're really attached to the savory tang of white wine sauces, grappa adds a much more subtle flavor, so you may not even notice it. You can preserve some of the tang by cooking it less, but i'm totally hooked on the smell in creates in the house when it burns off.
So, I got some store bought whole wheat pizza dough, out of pure curiosity, and I had some swiss cheese on hand that I wanted to get rid of, and I came up with this: Pizza con grappa......Oh - I don't measure anything. Unless it might kill me. Just so you know.
Heat yerself a little olive oil in a large pan. (Enough oil to sautee veggies, but remember that zucchini releases a fair amount of water, and you don't want the mix to be soggy, otherwise you'll have floppy pizza. Ew.)
Wash and thinly slice some zucchini and mushrooms. (If you're using canned mushrooms, dump 'em in. If they're fresh, sautee the mushrooms first, and add the zucchini after 3 minutes or so.)
Add, to your taste:
garlic powder (if you like fresh garlic better, don't let me stop you. I happen to have a really delicious organic garlic powder that I can't get enough of.)
After 5 or so minutes of cooking, add half a cup of grappa (or white wine) and cook until the liquid reduces almost completely.
OPTION for crispy crust: Preheat your oven, and pre-bake your pizza dough at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. (If you like it soft and chewy, just preheat at this stage.)
Spread the veggie mixture over the partially baked crust, and top with grated jarlsberg cheese. (I think Swiss is a little too intense for THIS dish, overpowering all the wonderful subtle flavors in the veggies. Jarlsberg is a great mild flavor without being TOO bland.)
Optional: sprinkle grated Parmesan as a finishing touch.
Bake until the cheesy goodness melts (about 8-10 more minutes.)