French Bread Pizzas

As kids, french bread pizzas were something we could make ourselves; unwrap, stick in microwave, consume.  They’re kid friendly, and aside from obvious danger of the near lava-like temperatures of that sauce and cheese, which by the way someone should have been very concerned about, they’re parent approved.
Back then there were only two options: plain cheese and pepperoni.  But we’re grown-ups now, aren’t we?  We have options.  We have fresh ingredients.  We have bread straight from the bakery and super-market short cuts.  All of that is true, and we still get to have french bread pizzas.

Being a grown-up is pretty cool.

Serve on a big cutting board and dig in–it’s not the time for airs.  French bread pizzas are fun, not fancy.  It’s pizza!  It’s fun.  Let it happen.

You can make your french bread pizzas any which way you want to (see below), but I chose to make half into a spicy barbecue chicken pizza and the other half with peppered salami, pizza sauce, and fresh mozzarella, my play on a classic pepperoni version.

Let’s get started!  You’ll need your ingredients.
A big loaf of crusty bread (confession: I used ciabatta because of it’s wider surface area, but French Bread Pizzas has more of a nostalgic ring to it.  Any crusty bread will do!) is the base.  For the barbecue chicken version, you’ll need barbecue sauce, pickled jalapeños, rotisserie chicken, gouda cheese, and fresh cilantro.  For the more traditional version you’ll need marinara sauce, salami, fresh mozzarella, and not pictured, red pepper flakes.

Split your crusty bread in half and place on a baking sheet.
Spread one half with marinara sauce and the other with barbecue sauce.  It will soak into the bread a little, but that’s ok.
Add rotisserie chicken on the barbecue half and salami on the marinara half.
Next, top with cheese.  Grated gouda cheese for the barbecue, fresh sliced mozzarella for the salami.
The salami side should be simple.  Top with a little more marinara, some salt and pepper, and you’re done.  The spice comes later.
The barbecue side needs a little bit more adornment.  Add some thinly sliced red onions and a few pickled jalapeños.
Top with more cheese and we’re ready for the oven.

Put in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is very toasted around the edges and the cheese on top is bubbly and browned.
Add some fresh chopped cilantro to the barbecue side and some red pepper flakes to the salami side.  Transfer to a big cutting board and slice into four pieces, more if your bread is longer.

Pretend the cutting board is the little microwavable box that turns inside out to form a plate, and serve it right there.

Because we’re adults, we have to share nicely.  Don’t hog those corner pieces, as much as you want to. Politely take one, then eye the next one greedily while saying, “No, you have that one.  Really.”

This is crunchy, cheesy, spicy, good.  What is pizza really besides bread, sauce, and cheese?  This version is a quick way to enjoy it, make it anyway you want, and have a really, really fun dinner.
Here’s the recipe, as if you need one.  Happy Saturday friends!

French Bread Pizzas, Two Ways

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of really crusty bread.  You can use french bread, ciabatta, or some form of the two.  Just make sure it’s crusty!
  • Barbecue toppings:
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Rotisserie chicken
    • pickled jalapeños
    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
    • fresh cilantro
  • Traditional with a Twist toppings:
    • Peppered salami
    • Marinara sauce
    • Fresh Mozzarella
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Fresh Basil if you have it (I did, and am regretting that I didn’t go grab some!)
  • Other topping ideas:
    • White pizza!  Olive oil, garlic, chicken, mozzarella
    • Taco Pizza!  Enchilada sauce or salsa, ground beef, shredded jack cheese, jalapeños, dollop of sour cream!
    • Buffalo Chicken Pizza! Rotisserie chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, shredded mozzarella.
    • Veggie pizza!  All the veggies you can think of, plus marinara, plus cheese.
    • Greek Pizza!  Feta cheese, marinara sauce, sausage, mozzarella, kalamata olives.
    • I could go on and on and on and on…..

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Split the crusty bread in half and place on a baking sheet.  Top half with the barbecue sauce and half with the marinara sauce.  Add the meats, and the respective cheeses.  Add pickled jalapeños and red onion to the barbecue side, then top with a little more cheese.
  3. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are toasted and the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and top the traditional half with red pepper flakes if you like spice, and the other half with fresh chopped cilantro.
  4. Cut into pieces and serve family-style.

Enjoy!

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