Thursday, May 19, 2011
My friend asked me to make her pizza, so I made her three. I like variety.
The first had a base of caramelized onion jam (it’s to DIE for. My aunt made it for me), shredded cheddar and prosciutto. I topped the whole thing with a pile of arugula once it was done cooking. Yum.
The second kind was a sweet roasted/sun-dried tomato base topped with artichokes, mozzarella and parmesan. I had a half jar of roasted cherry tomatoes and a whole bag of sun-drieds, so what I did was dump the sun-drieds in the jar, add a little olive oil and pulsed it to a thick, deep red paste with my immersion blender. The inspiration for doing this was the base of Tomato Pie. Which, anyone who’s been to a good Little Italy worth its shakes knows has a thick, almost tomato paste-like base and is simply topped with basil, maybe dried oregano and garlic powder. It was delicious. Rich and sweet with a little salty tang from the artichokes and parmesan.
The third was a standard margarita. Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and lots of basil. If it ain’t broke… my only issue with using fresh mozzarella on pies like this: is it purges so much liquid. I legitimately had to dip a paper towel on top to soak a bit of it up. This worked fine, but it leaves me to wonder, is there a better mozzarella that I should be using?
I decided to make the pizzas in a cast iron skillet because it’s quick and fun and something about cooking pizza crust this way makes it puffy and chewy, but not too heavy. Nobody likes a lead belly when there’s wine to be had (and dessert). If you want the directions on how to make skillet pies, the directions are here. Making three varieties of pizza that had to be put together relatively quickly gave me a good opportunity to do two things: use my cute new serving tray and create a boss looking mise en place.
Lord, I love me a mise en place. I think I get this from my mom, who has never met a ramekin or nesting bowl that she doesn’t like. While I was prepping dinner on this particular night, I thanked her for passing on this obsession to me. Because even with multiple stacks of tiny bowls used, I still had a stash in the cupboard.
I have to say, at the risk of sounding like the World’s Biggest Geek that I really like the urgency of grilling pizzas or making them in a skillet because I pretend a little tiny bit in my head that maybe I am on Top Chef.
Except the only difference is that I’m also wandering over to the table every few minutes to take a sip of wine and jam some cheese and crackers down my gullet. Also, I’m chatting non-stop with my friends the whole time. So I guess it’s not THAT urgent.
But you know what; these pizzas come out real nice. We quite enjoyed them all. I think my favorite was the prosciutto one, but the artichoke pie was a close second. This is such a simple cheap way to host your friends for dinner.
I think the only thing I had to purchase specifically was the dough, mozzarella and basil. In the future, I think I’ll experiment with a dough that is more cracker-like, I think that would be delicious.
I have to also mention dessert, because it was like, next level. My amiga Aja made a goat cheese cheesecake which she served with passion fruit sorbet and pistachio brittle. Take a minute and let that sink in. It was really amazing. I only have crummy photos of the finished pizzas and dessert because by that time it was really dark in my kitchen and we were on our third bottle of Rose.
Posted by Jess at 10:24 AM