In music, ‘fusion’ refers to a blending of genres, like the jazz-rock fusion of Pat Metheny, or the jazz-crap fusion of Kenny G. ‘Fusion,’ in physics, is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together to form a single heavier nucleus. Or, it’s how you turn lead into gold. I’m not really sure. I'm also not sure what my point was going to be.
Ah yes--fusion cuisine. Tex-Mex. Afro-Cuban. Kosher-Asian (note to self—trademark the name ‘Rabbi-San.’) Sometimes, cultural cross-pollination works. On the other hand, I had to give up my dream of opening a chain of British-Korean restaurants (“Kimchi-dilly Square”) when our market research showed that people didn’t really want bland food that smelled bad.
I made my first fusion dish a while back. Like most of my truly inspired creations, the idea came about because I was out of something. Here’s the backstory:
We had a box of frozen sliced na’an that I think had been in the freezer since ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ came out on Netflix (“That was a good movie—whaddya say we buy some of that flatbread?”). The Girlfriend was craving pizza, and then it hit me—the na’an was already cut into pizza-slice shaped slices!
Once again I showed all the traits of a real chef—ingenuity, inspiration, an ability to recognize shapes…I would make Na’an Pizza. Maybe I could be really clever and call it ‘Non-Pizza’! This is the idea that will make me a millionaire!!!
Unfortunately, according to Google, at least 77,100 people also invented “Naan Pizza.” There were 65,800 hits for “Non-Pizza” (bastards!). In my defense, there are only 142 results if you spell it with the apostrophe. No big deal, it would still be good.
Checking what was on hand, I had a box of naan (which sounds like the name of an alien on “Star Trek”—“I am called Box of Naan—fear me!”). We had lots of fresh veggies, and some tasty chicken breast from the previous night’s feast (for which I made my own gravy, I’ll have you know.)
I’m all set to assemble my Chicken Non-Pizza when I realize I have no sauce. Sure, I could make a sauce, but I had no tomatoes. No stewed tomatoes, no diced tomatoes—not even a tiny can of tomato paste. C’mon, everyone has a tiny can of tomato paste in back of the cupboard. Don’t believe me? Fine, check for yourself.
Here’s where it gets a little weird. I realized I had chicken, vegetables, and the aforementioned gravy. Well, that’s a pot pie waiting to happen! But let’s be real, I wasn’t gonna bake a pie crust. Besides, The Girlfriend wanted pizza. So I created……………….
Open-Faced Pot Pie Pizza™
Leftover chicken gravy
· Defrost naan.
· While naan defrosts, chop chicken, celery, carrots and mushrooms into pizza-topping sized chunks.
· Take naan out of oven.
Carefully pour leftover chicken gravy on each slice.
· Place chunks of chicken, celery, carrots and mushrooms randomly on each slice.
· Put a piece of cheese on one of the slices.
· Put it all back in the oven for a while.
There you have it. An Indian-Italian classic. I’ll admit I was worried about this one—I didn’t want my mashup to be the food equivalent of those horrible ‘crossover episodes’ on TV. You know, where the cast of ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ would inexplicably visit ‘Petticoat Junction?’ You don’t see crossover episodes very often anymore, which is too bad, because I’d love to see a crossover between ‘Dexter’ and ‘The Bachelorette.’
It’s all the comfort of a chicken pot pie, but you can eat it with your hands!
As it turned out, my musical ménage of Milan, Mumbai and the midwest was a hit. Who knows what I’ll combine next? Maybe I’ll put German sauerkraut on a French baguette and call it a Vichy Sandwich (thank you, history majors).
I’m crazy--I might mix Newfoundland and New Orleans, and create…whatever that would be. All I know for sure is that, by my cooking, I am single-handedly bringing the world together. It's a big responsibility, people.update: I have decided to withdraw my application for trademark on the name 'pot-pie pizza,' as there are, apparently, "about 168,000" people who have used that phrase. Damn, you, Google Search. Oh, and if you're in Chicago, drop by Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company, because apparently they came up with the idea, too. Maybe they just ran out of red sauce.