♪♪ -"Cook's Country" is about more than just getting dinner on the table.
We're also fascinated by the people and stories behind the dishes.
We go inside kitchens in every corner of the country to learn how real people cook, and we look back through time to see how history influences the way we eat today.
We bring that inspiration back to our test kitchen so we can share it with you.
This is "Cook's Country."
♪♪ Today on "Cook's Country," Lawman makes New England bar pizza...
I talk about regional pizza styles... Adam reviews grill pans... and Ashley makes Atlanta's own lemon pepper chicken wings.
That's all right here on "Cook's Country."
♪♪ ♪♪ -Welcome to the United States of Pizza.
Here at "Cook's Country," we love pizza from all across the country, no matter the region.
And today, we're going hyperlocal to the south shore of Massachusetts, and Lawman's going to show us how to make bar pizza.
-What's not to love about bar food?
It's greasy in the best possible sense.
It's a cure for salty cravings.
Me being a New Englander, New England bar pizza is one of my favorites.
Now, this pizza is not trying to compete with Neapolitan-style pizza.
This thin-crust, delicious pizza is good on its own.
If you can't make it to the bar, I want to show you how to make it at home.
Now we're going to make the dough from scratch.
-Now, this isn't any kind of go to the store, buy some pre-made dough, roll out pizza.
-So here I have 8 1/3 ounces of all-purpose flour.
I'm gonna add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of rapid-rise yeast.
We're just going to buzz it for about three seconds just so it combines.
[ Processor whirring ] Now we're going to add 2/3 of a cup of water while it's still going.
[ Processor whirring ] We're just blending it until there's no dry flour left.
-We're going to let sit for 10 minutes so the flour can hydrate.
-Now, you notice the dough doesn't really look any different.
-Once we add 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt... we're going to buzz this for 30 to 60 seconds till it forms a nice, sticky ball that clears the sides.
Then I'm going to take the dough out.
I'm going to put it on a lightly oiled counter.
I'm going to knead this dough for about one minute.
-Now I'm going to make it into a nice, tight ball... and I'm putting it in a bowl that's been lightly greased as well.
Just cover it in some plastic wrap.
It's going to sit at room temperature for two to two and a half hours until it's almost doubled in size.
♪♪ -While the dough is rising, we have plenty of time to make a great sauce.
To start, I have 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
-1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil... 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano... 1/2 teaspoon of sugar... 1/4 teaspoon of salt... 1/8 of teaspoon of pepper flake... -Nice.
-...and 1/8 of a teaspoon of black pepper.
We're going to blend this for 30 seconds until it's nice and smooth.
And that's it.
-[ Inhales deeply ] I want to get a whiff there.
Now, does this get cooked?
Goes right on the pizza.
-Now I'm going to make the topping for the pizza, which is a combination of cheeses.
First, we have our mozzarella cheese.
You want about a cup of cheese, and you want to make sure you shred it yourself because pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt the same way.
No, it's -- Sometimes it has the cellulose that's added to the packaging and it'll prevent it from melting into a big, beautiful pool.
I mentioned there was two cheeses that we're using.
This is a sharp cheddar cheese.
It gives the New England bar pizza its classic tang flavor.
You don't want to use extra sharp because it's going to create a pizza that's a little too greasy.
Now, let's talk about what we're going to cook the "pizz-er" in.
[ Laughter ] He is from New England.
-So, I have two nine-inch cake pans.
The darker color is going to help with browning.
And to further help with browning, I'm going to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pan.
-I love it when we do this.
We do it sometimes with focaccia or pan pizzas where you get that little bit of oil in there and it almost fries the dough.
Sauce, cheese ready.
Just waiting for the dough.
-Waiting for the dough.
-Waiting for good dough.
♪♪ -While New York and Chicago may not like to admit it, New England is home to some of the best pizza in the country.
Three distinct and delicious styles of the pie were born there.
New Haven-style pizza is a thin-crust pie baked in a bread oven and topped with tomatoes, anchovies or chopped clams.
New Haven style-pizza was created in Connecticut by Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant who opened his first pizzeria in 1925.
Connecticut is also home to Greek pizza, which has a thicker crust and is baked in a circular pan.
It was invented in 1955 by Costas Kitsatis at his New London restaurant, Pizza House.
He offered classic toppings like sausage, onion and peppers.
On the south shore of Massachusetts, there's bar pizza.
Many people think that bar pizza was started at the Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton in 1947.
The restaurant is still in operation today and run by the original owner's grandsons.
This style of pizza is baked in a 10-inch pan and is distinct for its biscuit-like crust.
And that's the style we were inspired to try at "Cook's Country," where we created our own version of New England bar pizza.
♪♪ -So the dough is ready.
It's been about two and a half hours.
-Doubled in size, I'd say.
-It absolutely has.
A little flour down.
I'm going to cut it in half 'cause we're going to have two pizzas.
-I'm going to give you one so you can help me make them.
-You don't have to ask me twice.
I love doing this.
-So what you want to do first is make a ball.
Then you're going to take your fingertips and you're going to make a six-inch disk.
We're gonna end up rolling it out to a 10-inch round, so this is kind of getting us halfway there.
What do you think?
-It's not as good as mine, but it'll do.
[ Laughs ] Now we're going to roll it into a 10-inch round.
-[ Chuckles ] Alright.
-I will say it doesn't have to be perfectly round.
-New England is famous for their amoeba pizzas, correct?
[ Laughter ] What do you think?
-I assure you, when it comes out of the oven, this will be a round pizza.
-Now we're going to add the dough to the pan.
When you add it, you want to give it like a 1/4-inch lip going up.
That's going to be a very thin crust.
-Now we're going to add 1/3 of a cup of sauce right here.
Just gonna add that right in the middle.
Take your brush, brush it around.
Get up on the sides.
-All the way up on the crust?
-All the way up on the crust.
-Next, we're going to add the cheese combination.
-Now, you want to make sure you get some of that cheese up onto the sides.
-Yes, so you get that little bit of lacy fried cheese frico.
Now we're going to bake pizza in a 500-degree oven on the bottom rack closest to the heating element.
We want the crust to get nice and brown, the cheese to be bubbly, almost brown.
It's going to bake for about 12 minutes.
We're going to be rotating halfway through.
Oh, my goodness.
Oh, look at that side there.
Oh, my gosh.
[ Exhales sharply ] Well, came out in one piece, so I'm guessing we have to wait.
-We have to wait five minutes.
It's been five minutes.
Now it's time to slice the pizza and eat it.
-It's safe to eat.
Half for you, half for me?
-[ Chuckles ] -Look at that.
And the cheese on top is lightly browned, but you get that nice, deep color on there on the sides.
-It's a good pizza.
-It's really, really good pizza.
I mean, the cheddar added some tanginess to the mozzarella.
I do like the little bit of cheese grease on top.
It's not a pizza without that.
-I love the -- the grease on this pizza.
-It's a little bit sweet.
You have the crunch of the crust.
I think it's a really good pizza.
-And if you would love to make this hyper-regional bar pizza at home, use the food processor to make both the dough and a quick sauce.
Top the pizzas with a combo of mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese and bake them in a well-greased, dark-colored cake pan.
So from "Cook's Country," a hyper-regional favorite -- New England bar pizza.
Or more accurately, "baa pizz-er."
[ Chuckles ] ♪♪ -If you're in the mood for something off the grill but not in the mood to schlep outside, then a grill pan is the answer.
And today, Adam's here to tell us more.
-Or if you live in an apartment and you don't have a grill.
People love grill pans because they make your food look like it's been cooked outside, even when you cook it inside.
So we have 10 pans here that we tested.
The price ranges from a low of $20 to a whopping $295.
-[ Whistles ] -They were all cast iron.
Most of them were uncoated cast iron, but, for instance, a couple of them were enameled, like that one down at the end.
-This one is also enameled.
The tests included just grilling regular pieces of white sandwich bread, paninis, burgers and glazed salmon.
-The name of the game with these things is the grill marks because they not only make your food look grilled, they make it taste a little bit better.
So the ridges that create those grill marks were key.
Higher ridges, taller ridges, bigger ridges, all better.
They made more distinct grill marks like this.
-That's some good-looking grill marks.
This is actually a really handsome piece of bread.
-And the grill marks are consistent, and they're dark.
Check out this one, which had, by contrast, the lowest ridges.
And check out those grill marks.
-That's pretty sorry.
-They're a lot lighter.
They just don't look nearly as good.
So it all had to do with the height of those ridges.
These were 7.1 millimeters high, almost twice as high as these, which were 3.7 millimeters high.
-Now, with all cookware, we always like a larger cooking surface.
We wanted around nine inches here.
Some of them fell little bit short.
Testers also really liked these low flared walls, the sides of the pan, just because it was easy to get in there with tongs or a spatula or something like that.
In terms of the weight, there was quite a difference.
That big boy next to you, that was the heaviest.
He's more than 10 and a half pounds.
Testers preferred pans that were more in the range of seven pounds.
Because these are heavy, even at seven pounds, the handles matter.
You want to have, like, nice, beefy handles.
These looped ones are really good.
Some of them had small ones.
Like, that handle's not great, and look at the helper handle.
-Yeah, my hand would slip right off that.
And then in terms of the material, testers really preferred the uncoated cast iron because it picks up seasoning, it gets a little stick-resistant.
It's way better.
-There were co-winners here, Julia.
Two of them.
This one is the Lodge Chef Collection grill pan.
It's $36, and it gives us everything we want in a grill pan.
Nice, tall ridges, great distinct grill marks, easy to handle, right size.
However, if you have a little more money to spend, there's a pan with a different backstory and a different price point.
This is the Borough Furnace grill pan.
It's $110, but it's made by a small manufacturer in upstate New York, and testers just felt like this was a piece of cookware art.
They loved it.
So there you have it.
If you're in the market for a new grill pan, look for either the Lodge Chef Collection cast iron grill pan at $36, or the Borough Furnace grill pan at $110.
♪♪ -Today I'm making spinach artichoke dip.
Start by cooking some minced garlic briefly in extra virgin olive oil to build flavor in the dip.
Now add fresh, coarsely chopped baby spinach a handful at a time.
Let the spinach wilt before adding more.
Cook until all of the spinach has wilted and the liquid has evaporated.
I want to take this off the heat to stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Add some cream cheese and stir it until it melts and combines with the spinach.
Now for some more flavor, add some sweet, nutty shredded gouda... some grated parmesan... mayonnaise... pepper... cayenne... and we're using drained, marinated artichokes for a bright, fresh punch of flavor.
Now transfer the dip to a two-quart baking dish and use a spatula to smooth out the top.
Bake the dip in a 400-degree oven until it's spotty golden brown and bubbling around the edges.
It's molten hot, so let the dip cool and set before serving.
Now go ahead and dive into this cheesy, creamy, melty spinach artichoke dip.
♪♪ -There's a style of chicken wing coming out of Atlanta that's getting some serious press with outspoken fans like rapper Waka Flocka Flame, writer Rembrandt Brown, and even former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Now, Ashley is here to show us what all this buzz is about.
So I'm going to be making some lemon pepper wings today.
-I've never had them.
-Well, it's a riff off of the original dry-rubbed lemon pepper version.
And we thought if it's good enough for the fine folks of Atlanta, we need to bring it up here to "Cook's Country" and make a recipe everybody can make at home.
-I love it.
-So naturally, we're going to start with the lemon.
Now, we have 2 tablespoons of lemon zest here, but I'm going to zest one more lemon to get 3 tablespoons total.
-That's a lot of lemon zest.
And what we're going to do is we are going to be dehydrating the lemon zest in the microwave.
It's going to make it nice and shelf stable and it's going to help to be able to crumble really nicely in our spice blend on the chicken.
So, I notice you're using a rasp-style grater to get the zest off, because those little shreds I'm imagining dry really nicely.
And it's important not to get the white in there, because that's the pith and it is definitely on the bitter side.
So just try to go around and just get the yellow lemon zest.
I'm just going to spread it out along with, as I said, the other 2 tablespoons, so 3 tablespoons total.
So I'm going to go and microwave this for two minutes, and I'm going to go in and stir it halfway through.
So I'll put that aside just to let cool while I combine all of our spices.
As you can see, we definitely have quite a few spices here.
So I've got a full tablespoon of pepper for lemon pepper wings, naturally.
-That makes sense.
-There is gonna be a good amount.
And then I have a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of granulated garlic.
A teaspoon of onion powder.
You know, usual suspects for any kind of spice blend.
And now things get a little interesting.
So here's a teaspoon of ground coriander... -Mm-hmm.
-...and half a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
And the ground coriander and the sugar are going to help to balance that really tart flavor from the lemon juice and also balance out the pepper.
-Now, things continue to be interesting.
Half a teaspoon of citric acid.
It's just going to give a little bit more of that punchy tartness that you think of when you think of lemon pepper wings.
And it's really easy to find.
You can actually just go into the canning aisle in your grocery store or that big baking aisle and it's sold there, or you can find it online.
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric, which, as you can see, is going to give us that beautiful yellow color.
And it's also going to help give a nice, complex flavor as well.
And then finally, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
So now I'm going to add the dehydrated zest in here as well.
And you can see it's really starting to crumble very nicely.
-That is so cool.
-You can store this in an airtight container for up to one month.
-That's a lot of wings if you want to make it.
-So I have three pounds here of chicken wings and I'm going to break these down.
Now, just a couple of notes here.
You'll see that I do have the wing tips intact for a few, and it's always a good idea to save them.
You can throw them in the freezer in a zipper-lock bag, because these are going to help make some delicious chicken stock.
-Now, for the rest of the wing, I'm going to use a nice, sharp boning knife.
You could use a chef's knife if you prefer.
All that really matters is that it's very sharp.
And then to slice on through that skin.
And if it's a good knife that's nice and sharp, it'll go right through.
And it's a good idea to buy these whole, if you can, at your grocery store behind the butcher counter, because if not, you know, they can come in a lot of different sizes.
-And you want to make sure you have the same cooking rate and the bigger the wing, the better.
Now I'm going to add a little bit of lemon juice.
-Right onto the wings?
-Right onto the wings.
We're gonna season these as much as we can, especially to get that lemon juice flavor.
And then a good amount of pepper.
I've got a teaspoon of pepper.
And a tablespoon of kosher salt.
So I'm going to go in here and just give the wings a good mix.
And I'm going to quickly wash my hands.
Now I'm going to make our coating.
So, we have a good amount of cornstarch here, and that's going to help to really give some nice crunchiness to our wing coating.
But I am going to add a little bit of flour as well.
So this is 3/4 of a cup of cornstarch.
This is 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
And then I have some baking powder, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, which is going to do two things.
It's going to help provide a little bit of lift in that coating, and then it's also going to help to promote some browning.
So I'm just going to give it a nice, little whisk here.
Now I'm going to add the wings directly into the flour mixture.
And one of my favorite things we do here is I like to get in there with my hands.
-Well, that way you can get the flour-cornstarch mixture into all the nooks and so that gets really crisp when you deep fry them.
It's just the best little trick.
You really just get in there, you press it, you really try to clump as much as you can... -Yep.
-Appreciate your hands getting dirty for me.
-It's -- I'll do anything for you, Julia.
[ Laughter ] Alright.
I'm going to wash my hands.
Then it's going to be time to cook.
-It's fry time.
So, I have 2 quarts of vegetable oil in this Dutch oven that I've heated up to 375 degrees.
And now I'm going to add half of the chicken wings.
-I like how you're using a nice, big pot because that oil can really bubble up and splatter and it just helps keep things a little bit tidier.
The less splatter, the better.
-The less cleanup.
Just going to kind of separate the wings in here just to make sure they don't clump too much.
But I'm going to cook them over medium-high heat, maintaining the oil temperature to 375 degrees until the wings are browned and crisp, which will take 10 minutes.
It has been 10 minutes.
-Those are beautiful.
-They're, like, restaurant-worthy.
-Those are beautiful, Ashley.
-Oh, my goodness.
Yeah, they're beautifully browned, nice and crispy.
Alright, so now I'm going to do the second batch for the same amount of time -- 10 minutes.
And while these are frying for the 10 minutes, I'm going to keep the first batch in an oven, a relatively low oven.
Just 200 degrees just to keep warm in there.
-The wings are done cooking and the first batch is nice and warm thanks to that low oven.
-Do we even need a sauce?
Those look amazing.
We could just pour the butter right over it.
But I am going to make a sauce.
Now, the lemon pepper wet sauce refers to either clarified butter or buffalo sauce, depending on what famous wing place you're at in Atlanta.
So we're going to kind of combine the two here.
So in this bowl, I'm going to whisk together 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a tablespoon and a half of more lemon juice, a tablespoon and a half of Frank's RedHot sauce.
-Oh, I love that hot sauce.
I love the texture of that hot sauce, specifically.
A tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
-Yeah, it's good to help to kind of emulsify the sauce together.
-Give this a nice whisk.
And now it's time to add our spice mixture from earlier.
-You going to add all of it?
I'm just going to add 2 tablespoons at this point.
It's your time to shine.
-[ Chuckles ] -Give it a whisk.
I'm so excited for you to try this.
Listen to that crunch.
-You can hear how crisp those wings are.
-Thanks to that cornstarch.
-Now, give these guys a toss.
[ Wings crunching ] Oh, my goodness.
-That sound is incredible.
-Well, and they're so crisp.
The coating is staying on there so beautifully.
-Do you ever just go crazy and do the bowl toss?
-You know, I do, and I felt like I was really just trying to do this in a non-bowl-toss way.
But let's just see what happens.
-I notice you're stepping away.
-Yeah, of course.
[ Laughter ] -I've been in tastings with you.
[ Laughter ] -They don't call me "spot" for nothing.
-Okay, so I'm going to transfer.
-Those really are the most beautiful wings I have ever seen.
-Aren't they gorgeous?
Alright, I'm going to sprinkle just a little more the lemon pepper seasoning, because why not?
-I like that trick.
I'm strategically going for this guy because it's a flat.
I'm going to do two.
I'm going to do a drumette.
I'm going to do this flat.
-These are incredible.
-They're not spicy at all.
I taste the black pepper, but there's no real heat from it.
And I taste a lot of the lemon.
The coriander is really interesting.
That citric acid.
I couldn't pick it out, but it's definitely adding some tang.
Gives that, like, puckery punch, but not too much so.
And also, with all that lemon juice, sometimes you really can go overboard with acid, and it is just so well balanced.
A little bit of cayenne right here.
Not too much.
Just a little bit.
-Ashley, these wings are something else.
-You are welcome.
-So if you want to make these Atlanta-style wings at home, use dried lemon zest and citric acid to create a puckery seasoning.
Coat the wings with a blend of cornstarch and flour, and finally toss the fried wings with a sauce made with hot sauce and melted butter.
From "Cook's Country," a glorious recipe for lemon pepper wings.
You can find this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with our product reviews and select episodes at our website, CooksCountry.com/tv.
Any tricks for eating the drums?
-Well, eat them?
I don't know.
[ Laughter ] You're doing pretty well.