Blogger’s Note: I want to mention that the following food item was an experiment in food fusion. I would be flattered if you made one and liked it, but I am aware of the health concerns of eating so many calories, and processed food. I will not be making this calzone part of regular diet.
For those of you out there who are making hamburgers by cramming ground beef between two pizzas, or deep frying food stuffed inside food this post is dedicated to your spirit…
The man on Planet Tapperass
Have you ever been to Denny’s and ordered a Sampler? Well, if that place is not your thing, have you ever ordered an appetizer combo at any restaurant where they are on the menu? A typical appetizer combo comes with Onion Rings, Mozzarella Sticks, and Chicken Strips. Often orders will come with a side of marinara, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing.
I came up with the idea of fusing the Sampler with Calzone. I decided to use Onion Rings, Mozzarella Sticks, and Popcorn Chicken as my filler for this creation. Marinara sauce and Gouda cheese would compliment the fillings.
The first step was to cook, or in this case, heat up each item. Once each item was hot, I grated some of this Gouda that is smoked, and quite tasty.
I decided to coat the inside of the calzone with the marinara sauce, and this would affect the overall look of the finished item. Then I placed a generous helping of grated gouda cheese.
I started with the mozzarella sticks. I placed them side by each, and I decided not to cut them into smaller pieces.
I them sprinkled the popcorn chicken over the mozzarella stick.
Then I finished by laying the onion rings over the top of the popcorn chicken. I then folded the other side of the dough and closed the calzone by folding the dough over to secure the inside ingredients.
The calzone cooked at 350 degrees for 25-20 minutes. Once the top was golden brown I removed the calzone from the oven.
As you can see, the marinara sauce bleed through the dough, and the top looked discolored.
However, the inside looked great.
I did make a smaller calzone with ranch dressing instead of marinara sauce in the middle. I cooked it for the same time at the same temperature as the marinara calzone.
The smaller calzone was better looking.
The inside looked good also.
The Verdict: First off, Gouda is a powerful cheese. It has such a flavor that it can dominate a dish. Well, it did just that with these calzones. First the marinara calzone: During my taste test I was able to detect some mozzarella flavor from a bite, but the chicken and onion rings were hard to detect. Perhaps more chicken and onion together with less mozzarella might help make their flavor come out more. The marinara also disguised some of the other flavors. Each bite I took was dominated by the sauce and cheese. At time it was as if there was no chicken or onion rings.
Now the fusion of gouda and ranch dressing was a pleasant surprise. I was much more satisfied with the ranch dressing calzone. The flavors of the chicken and the onion ring were slightly more detectable, but the cheese blend and the ranch were still quite dominant. Perhaps the same that could be done with the marinara calzone can be done with the ranch calzone. If less mozzarella was used in conjunction with more chicken and onion rings, then this concoction might just have future.
Of course I could use less smoked gouda, but it is just so darn tasty. It might be a sin.
So give a shot, and make your own mutation. I would love to know how yours turns out.