WESTPORT – In the food world these days, you hear the phrase ‘farm to table’ a lot. But there aren’t a lot of pizza places that take the time and effort to source all of their ingredients from local farms. Ten Cousins Brick Oven in Westport is one of those places.
Named for the ten grandchildren of the owner, this family friendly spot has a bright, cheery dining room inside and a fun outdoor space complete with plenty of picnic tables and outdoor games.
Since they’re surrounded by farmland, Chef/Manager Nigel Olivier is constantly cooking with ingredients that are as local as they come, all in a massive wood burning oven.
“It’s very hot and you have to be attentive at all times because a pizza only takes about 5-6 minutes to cook and you have to rotate it half way through so it gets a nice even golden crust.
“It’s magical. You just take something, throw it in and you don’t even have to wait. You can just sit there and watch the pizza rise and the crust brown. I love it.”
All of Nigel’s exceptional pies come out crispy every time, topped with farm fresh vegetables. And nothing says ‘just picked’ like a slice of the Farmer’s Market Pizza.
“It has everything you’d expect to find at a Farmers market: mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes, basil, everything. It’s for the person who loves vegetables.”
Meat lovers will marvel at the Chorizo Pizza, loaded up with lots and lots local sausage, bell peppers, red onions and a special variety of cheese.
“It’s Portuguese Cheese,” Olivier explained. “It has a different texture. It’s a semi-soft with a lot of bold flavor and it melts perfectly in an oven.”
Since they’re proud members of the Westport community, the folks at Ten Cousins decided to pay homage to two of their hometown’s favorite spots for fishermen.
“There’s a couple of fishing holes around here. One is called Sow & Pigs. The other is called Hens & Chickens. So we wanted to make pizzas to represent the local community,” Olivier said. “Sow & Pig has our signature mango chipotle pulled pork, with roasted corn, cheese and onions. The Hen & Chicken has caramelized onions, roasted chicken. It’s a simple and classy pizza that has a lot of flavor.”
Beyond pizzas, Nigel and his oven cook up all sorts of other specialties.
There’s the ultra-addictive Brick Oven Wings tossed with lemon, rosemary and caramelized onions, or the Blackboard Burger, a special burger which changes weekly. And nothing is more awesome then Ten Cousin’s so-called Awesome Nachos.
“When you sit down to eat the Awesome Nachos it’s an experience in its own self. You pick up a chip, it’s covered in cheese and pork and beans and scallions. You just pull it up and it’s stringy and gooey and it’s just a flavor explosion.”
The Stuffed Quahogs are made fresh every day and overloaded with fresh, local clams.
“We roast it in the pizza oven, which gives them even more flavor, seals it on and gives it a little crust on top,” Olivier explained. “You just need a little bit of bread to hold it together. You don’t want to sit down and eat bread that has clams in it. If you want that you get clam cakes. We don’t have clam cakes; we have stuffed quahogs.”
When it comes to meatballs, Nigel and his team don’t mess around. The “jumbo” meatball is a true feast for the eyes.
“It’s about the size of your fist,” he demonstrated.
These monstrous spheres of meat are made using an eight ounce ladle. From there, the blend of beef, pork, and seasonings are breaded with panko and baked until perfect.
“We wanted something slightly different. Everybody has meatballs, but we have jumbo meatballs. The bigger the meatball is, the more tender and juicy it is when it cooks, so you get a nice, good, solid flavor when you bite into it.”
These homestyle meatballs are also used in a sandwich Nigel refers to as a Brickini. This over-the-top sandwich starts with fresh pizza dough that’s baked until brown to make the ideal roll. From there it’s stuffed with two piping hot, oversized meatballs, sauced and served.
“The meatball itself has sautéed onions and peppers and garlic and onion in it. The bread is perfectly baked in the oven. The sauce is our own secret recipe. It’s just a flavor combination you can’t get anywhere else,” Olivier described.
And since the Ten Cousins team is getting it all locally, they’re able to keep the food fresh, the portions large and the prices low – something that makes customers quite happy.
“When our customers leave we want them to have three things: good food, a good time, and have a full stomach, and be completely satisfied. To tell their friends, ‘hey, you want a good food, good time? Go eat at cousins.’”
You can find 10 Cousins at 977 Main Road in Westport, and online at tencousinsbrickoven.com.
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