Peter Entner is the chef at Pete Zaaz in Brooklyn, NY. His unique pizza topping of ground Cheez-Its, dehydrated pickled jalapenos and herbs has landed his establishment quite a bit of attention. Last year Tasting Table posted a recipe for Cheesy-Spicy-Herby Goodness inspired by Entner’s unique concoction. We too were inspired and called up Peter for an interview.
What’s not to like? Salt. Crunch. Spice. Yes please!
Hear Evan talk to Entner this Saturday on Good Food about his love of Cheez-Its and the other quirky pizza toppings at Pete Zaaz.
Cheesy-Spicy-Herby Goodness (aka Spiced Ground Cheez-Its)
Yield: 1¾ cup
Cook Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes (plus overnight chilling)
1 cup white vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
One 1-inch-wide strip orange peel
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 large jalapeños, very thinly sliced (preferably using a mandoline) into rounds
1 bunch Thai basil
2¼ cups Cheez-It® crackers
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons Maldon sea salt
1 to 2 dried Thai red chiles
1. In a small saucepan set over high heat, bring the vinegar, garlic, orange peel, salt and sugar to a boil. Place the jalapeños in a small bowl. Strain the pickling mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and over the jalapeños, then cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 175°. Drain the jalapeños and place them and the Thai basil leaves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and dehydrate until the leaves and jalapeños are completely brittle and dry, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and add to a food processor along with the crackers, Parmigiano-Reggiano, sea salt and dried chile(s). Pulse until very fine. Transfer to a pizza-parlor-style cheese shaker and sprinkle over pizza.