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Taco Salad Pizza


Usually tucked inside a taco shell, I've taken my favorite taco filling and created a tantalizing Tex-Mex pizza topping instead. Crisp lettuce, green onions, and cilantro lleaves are sprinkled over the baked pizza after it emerges from the oven. Spicy salsa and cooling sour cream are served separately for guests to add as they wish to this fresh-tasting, lively, and colorful pie.

About 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup drained chopped pickled jalapenos
3/4 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon best-quality chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepared pizza dough (page 16)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large (1/2 pound) ripe tomato, seeded, very coarsely diced
2 cups coarsely shredded Romaine lettuce hearts
1/3 cup chopped green onions (green tops only)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Homemade or bottled salsa for serving
Sour cream for serving
 

Preheat the oven to 500 to 600°F. Lightly coat a 14-iinch pizza pan with a little oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and jalapenos and cook for 1 minute or just until tender. Stir in the beef, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper and cook breaking up the meat with fork, until no pink remains. Tilt pan and spoon out excess oil, if necessary. 

Roll out dough into a 14-inch circle and transfer to the prepared pan. Brush the dough with about 1 tablespoon oil. Spread the meat mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, then the tomatoes.

Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or just until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven, slice into wedges, and immediately scatter lettuce, green onion, and cilantro leaves over the hot pizza. Serve at once with bowls of salsa and sour cream.

Makes one 14-inch pizza


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