Cheap Eats: Star Chefs' Spam Recipes

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Hot & Spicy Spam Coca, with Roasted Piquillo-Pineapple Escabèche

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michael Fiorello of Chicago's Mercat a la Planxa

Makes 4

• 4 cocas, par baked (recipe to follow)
• 4 oz. Piquillo Pepper-Pineapple escabeche (recipe to follow)
• 4 oz. Manchego béchamel (recipe to follow)
• 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
• 12 Hot & Spicy Spam slices, 1/8"
• 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienne

For the Coca Dough:
• 1 lb. Store-bought raw pizza dough

Turn dough onto a clean work surface dusted with flour and form 2 oz. balls. Place dough balls on a tray and let them rest and proof for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 300F. After dough has rested, roll into long oval shapes, 1/8" thick. Prick dough with a fork, and brush with a little olive oil. Place ovals on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 3 minutes, to set shapes. Remove and allow to cool at room temperature.

For the Manchego Cream:
• 1 cup Heavy Cream
• 1/2 cup Manchego cheese (3 month aged)
• 1/2 Tbsp. Salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer. Whisk in the Manchego and salt until cheese is melted. Place in a heat proof container and chill.

For the Piquillo-Pineapple Escabèche:
• 8 Roasted Piquillo peppers, small dice
• 1 cup Diced Grilled Pineapple
• 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, small dice
• 1/4 cup Honey
• 1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
• 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 3 Tbsp. Red Onion, Minced
• 2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
• 1 Tbsp. (optional) Fresh thyme, picked and chopped
• 1/2 Tbsp. Salt
• 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients and allow to marinate, chilled, for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

To Assemble Cocas:
Preheat oven to 450F with a pizza stone on center rack. If you don't have a pizza stone, wrap a cookie or baking sheet in aluminum foil and place, inverted, on center rack. Place 4 of the par-baked cocas on a clean, flat work surface. Spread 1 tbsp of Manchego béchamel on each. Top each coca with 3 slices of Hot & Spicy Spam. Spread the grated Manchego evenly on each coca. Using a spatula, carefully place cocas on baking surface and cook until cheese is melted and golden. Remove from oven and cut each coca into four slices. Place a teaspoon of escabèche on each slice, and sprinkle with julienne basil. Serve immediately.

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