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Giovanni’s North Shore Shrimp Truck Pizza {Pizza Friday}

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All images: Krista Brackin Photography

I was super lucky to get to visit a friend last spring in Honolulu, and when anyone asks how it was, the only thing I can think to tell them is it was just as fabulous as you would imagine Hawaii would be.  I walked to Waikiki Beach every day, climbed Diamond Head (which was exhausting…I thought I might die), swam in water that was a shade of blue-green I didn’t even know existed, and got to experience a little bit of the famed ‘north shore’ lifestyle.  After driving all along the north shore, stopping to walk along the beach in Laie, and watching the sunset on the beach at Banzai Pipeline, the next stop was dinner at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.

Now, I didn’t know that these shrimp trucks were a ‘thing’ in Hawaii…oh, but they are.  And I will even go as far as to say that eating dinner at this shrimp truck was one of the best experiences – dining or otherwise – that I’ve ever had.  It’s a ‘no frills’ type of establishment, but you’re in the most magical locations possible.  The menu is simple:  A dozen shrimp of your choice – Scampi, ‘No Refunds’ Hot and Spicy, Lemon Butter, or you can get a Jumbo Garlic Hot Dog,…all options served on a paper plate with two scoops of rice and a lemon wedge, and you sit at the surrounding picnic tables.

I got the classic Shrimp Scampi, and it was AMAZING.  Like, absolutely amazing.  And it’s from this dish that the ‘Giovanni’s North Shore Shrimp Truck Pizza’ gets its inspiration.  Out of all the pizzas I’ve made this year, this is in the top three, easy.  It requires some prep, but it’s not too bad, and it’s definitely worth it!!I think about Hawaii daily, and I can’t wait to get back there – hopefully sometime very soon.  But, until then, I’ll have to settle for some ice cold Hawaiian Sun iced tea, the ‘Hanohano Hanalei’ station on Pandora, and this pizza.  {Scroll down for the recipe!}

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So, they key to this recipe is the shrimp.  Use whatever pizza dough you like and prep as per package instructions.  (If you’re looking for an easy dough recipe, try this.)  I use these gluten free crusts – I just toast them a bit on the oven grates before assembling and cooking the pizza, and they turn out like my favorite brick oven, thin crust pizza shop’s does.  Regarding the cheese, I just used a basic mozzarella, that I shredded myself (I think it tastes better than the pre-shredded kind).

For the shrimp, I followed this recipe.  Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, shell on, deveined
  • 3/4 cup clarified butter*
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1-2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices or wedges

*Clarified Butter is recommended, since it has a higher smoke point than regular butter. This will help to prevent the butter and garlic from burning as it cooks. Trust me, it’s not that difficult, and you’ll feel like a chef after making it.  For an easy photo guide to clarifying butter, click here. Two sticks of butter will produce just the right amount of clarified butter for this recipe.

Peel, devein, and chop the shrimp into small-ish bite sized chunks. Combine the flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a dish. Toss the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat. (There will be flour leftover.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the clarified butter and garlic. Cook for a minute or two, then add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then turn the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side. Add the white wine and salt. Cook for a minute or two.

Top your pizza with the mozzarella cheese.  When the shrimp is done, add to the pizza, and put a little more mozzarella on top of the shrimp.  Cook for about ten minutes in an oven that’s been preheated to 375 degrees (look for the cheese to bubble).  Then, pop on the broiler for a tiny bit (about 2 minutes or so…keep a close watch) – just enough to get a little char on that cheese.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the pizza (this is the perfect finishing touch). Serve with a side of white rice (drizzled with some of the leftover garlic-y butter sauce from the pan) and a lemon wedge.

Sit back, close your eyes, take in that Hawaiian music, and picture yourself on the island.

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