Most families have some sort of oddball food tradition, and the Jolly Tomato family is no exception. Our annual stromboli contest has it all: a wide-open field of ingredients, deep-seated rivalries, and unlimited deliciousness. What’s at stake? Bragging rights for a full year and these super-cool trophies. (Read here if you need a refresher on last year’s contest.)
A stromboli is basically a rolled-up pizza. It’s made from Italian bread or pizza dough, and traditionally filled with cheese, Italian meats such as salami, and/or vegetables. You toss the dough and stretch it into a square shape, spread the fillings on top, and then roll the dough into a log and bake it. The beauty of a stromboli is that you can really put anything you want inside – and you can get especially creative with vegetables, fruits, or any kind of cheese or sauce.
For this year’s competition we had six adults and four kids in the running and one stromboli-loving judge. The entries included:
1) Bacon, egg, and cheese stromboli (Sam, age 9)
2) Chicken finger, lettuce, and ketchup stromboli (Lily, age 7)
3) Ham, spinach, pineapple, and bacon stromboli (Zach, age 5)
4) Caramelized onion, bacon, green pepper, pepperoni, and cheese stromboli (Luke, age 8)
5) Spicy Moroccan chicken, date, apricot, and goat cheese stromboli (Jeanne)
6) Spinach, bleu cheese, and bacon stromboli (Dave)
7) South Philly rosemary-roasted pork and provolone stromboli (Joe)
8) Philly cheesesteak stromboli (Sara)
9) Italian sausage, chicken, and marinara stromboli (Joe Sr.)
10) Fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella stromboli (Joan)
Of course it’s always fun to make your own dough (see the recipe printed in the 2011 story), but this year in the interest of time we bought a bunch of pizza dough from the pizzeria down the street. If you’re making one at home, remember that just about anything tastes good in a stromboli; adding some sauce or cheese improves the texture. Tip: When you roll up the stromboli, make sure you wrap it tightly to eliminate any air pockets.
Once each stromboli was filled, we baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then we lined up the baked creations and labeled them with their ingredients. Our judge took his time, carefully savoring and evaluating each one.
And the winner was…The spicy Moroccan chicken stromboli! Yes! The trophy will go back to California this year. This stromboli was made by sauteeing diced chicken and onions along with coriander, cinnamon, and ginger; then adding chopped dates and apricots, along with a little chicken broth and white wine. When we spread it over the stromboli, we sprinkled crumbled goat cheese on top.
The special “Most Creative” trophy went to Luke’s caramelized onion, bacon, green pepper, and pepperoni stromboli. Our judge also granted a special designation of “Most Daring” to Joe’s South Philly rosemary-roasted pork and provolone stromboli.
The best part? Sampling and feasting on all of the delicious creations. Oh, and of course – plotting strategies for next year.
Happy New Year to you and your families!