For this week’s Caribbean challenge, I took on what seems to be the most common style tackled by many fellow redditors: jerk something. Having never tried jerk anything, I expected to fail in ways I wouldn’t realize without a basis for comparison. Ultimately, my goal was to scrape together a half-edible pizza, which (spoiler) I achieved.
Jerk seasoning revolves around the aromatics of allspice and the intense heat derived from the Scotch bonnet pepper. Habaneros, which rank in the same Scoville neighborhood, were used in their stead.
Borrowing a tidy pastry bag prep trick from work, I set raw shrimp in a wet marinade for a 12-hour swim.
Meanwhile, I juiced a fresh pineapple and reserved some chunks for topping as well.
Plucking from another jerk pizza recipe, I mixed the pineapple juice into tomato paste with red wine vinegar until a sauce like consistency was achieved.
The remaining toppings were prepped for a trip to pizza town.
To ensure the shrimp would cooked completely through, they were given a quick tour of a hot cast-iron pan before joining the rest of the pizza toppings in the oven.
Mozzarella cheese was sprinkled on lightly for some cohesiveness and a small relief from the potentially high heat of the habaneros. Based on how badly my fingertips stung 12 hours and some 20 hand-washing sessions after I had last touched the peppers, I was ready for a battle.
After sacrificing aesthetics of using whole shrimp in the name of overall consistency, I still went batty over the colorful vibe of this pizza.
Distracting and friendly, these hues are a bit deceiving of the dangers here. Luckily, the sweetness in wine can play defense for your tongue.
To help relieve the local wine shop, Village Vino, of the wall of tasty rosé they’ve amassed in a short amount of time, I selected a light and fruity style to accompany this pizza and all of its Caribbean flair.
Hailing from the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this Teutonic rosé bursts with fleshy melons and peach on a white pepper backdrop all while keeping a tame 11.54% abv. Such a plump, summer style is a hammer to a bad mood and does a pretty decent job wrangling in the spice on this pie. As this is a fruity but dry style, this wine is not as spice-repellant as a sweeter wine might be, but it does match the brightness of fruit in every bite. I consider the pairing passable and the pizza a win.
It’s hard to say if I’m more excited about receiving my shiny new 25-week apple badge than I am about hitting the midway point to my 52-week commitment next week. I get that, like karma, these small achievements don’t mean much. But still…