Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Quick Crusty Chewy Pizza

There are sundry ways of making something resembling real pizza without spending that much time. Lightly grilling a split English muffin first, then topping it with ingredients you love, and putting it back under the grill does result in a familiar enough goodie. But if you want a fresh, chewy dough coupled with a charred crust along with that favourite topping, shallow fry an easy-to-make flatbread dough in a skillet slicked with olive oil. Partially folding it over not only allows hassle-free removal but also slices which can be held in your hands via the folded edge. Pizza after all is a supreme finger food.

This lovely slab of goodness eventually got cut into hefty strips

Makes enough dough for about 10 individual pizzas: mix 600 gms/21 dry oz of plain, white flour, 325 ml/11 fluid oz of milk, and 1/2 tsp salt together. Knead until smooth which takes about five to eight minutes by hand. The ingredients can be halved to get a smaller amount, but keep in mind it does freeze well. A piece of dough the size of a golf ball is what you want for an 8 inch/20 cm to 9 inch/23 cm skillet. Roll it out as thinly as possible. Put at least a tablespoon of olive oilmore if you, as I do, want rivulets oozing onto the flatbreadin a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Test for appropriate temperature by placing the tip of a wooden spoon's handle in the oil; a steady stream of tiny bubbles will appear if the oil is ready for the flatbread.

Carefully place a flatbread in the oil and then flip it over after thirty seconds or until slightly golden. Lower the heat and add your topping. Mine consisted of sliced tomatoes, freshly grated Parmesan, capers, dried basil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about five minutes or until everything is nice and warm, crusty but still chewy. Partially fold, serve on a platter, and slice into portions.

The large air bubbles simulate a yeast dough

Making pizza from dough that did a slow-rise in the fridge overnight is worth the effort, but there is no way to get the fabled charring that only commercial ovens can achieve. But it does happen when tossing a super-thin flatbread circle into a sizzling frying pan! 

A charred pizza crust is the way to my native New Yorker's heart...and stomach

The last big batch of our potager's tomatoes has been processed into stewed deliciousness. Happily there are still a few fresh toms here and there which are ideal for making some quick, crusty, chewy pizza.


Recent days have been warm and rainy of which our fig tree shows its appreciation by being full of ripening fruit. Store-bought figs are expensive simply because they bruise easily which makes transportation a challenge. If all possible, plant a fig tree chez vous as they are tough and productive, almost embarrassingly so. Fully ripe figs—partially ripe ones taste like chalk—are gorgeous.

A ripe fig feels like a little water balloon and needs just a slight pressure to harvest

Harvesting bay leaves is done best in spring as their aromatic sap rises then, but if one's stash is getting low don't hesitate to do it now.

Pick the largest leaves, wash, dry & cure on a dish/rack for about two weeks

Though honeysuckle is known for both early summer and autumn blooming, it's the first time our bushes have graced this season with their fragrant flowers.


One bush in the back of the garden has been allowed to drape itself over a pile of pruned branches. Because of wanting to be near its perfume, I use any excuse for adding to the compost piles situated just behind their trailing branches.


Dirac the Young Cat knows how many hedgehogs and lizards reside in this honeysuckle-covered mound but he isn't telling!


Reluctant to romp in the rain, once coming inside he enjoys kneading and cuddling my old fleece jacket.


À la prochaine!

RELATED POST

How to make pizza (photos from this old post got corrupted somehow, but the instructions remain correct)