Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pizza always puts a smile on my face!

So I needed an excuse to get rid of the smoked halibut I did not eat. What better excuse than PIZZA! Yes, halibut is a wonderful topping for a pizza...but not in the usual way one would think. Instead of using a traditional marinara-type tomato based sauce, I cheat! I go to Pizza Hut and tell them I want two of their Garlic Butter dipping sauce...and they always give it to me! SUCKERS! This is the base for a good fish pizza. If you feel terrible about doing this, then pick up a garlic-Alfredo sauce to use instead. The pizza dough I have found to be the best is from "Jamie At Home" cookbook, page 182. He uses a combination of bread and semolina flours (you can get the semolina flour in the health food section).

5 cups bread flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 TBSP sea salt
mix this together.......

5 tsp. yeast
1 TBSP. raw sugar
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (make sure it is not so hot to kill the yeast, but hot enough to bribe the yeast---about wrist temp)

Mix the flours and salt, let the yeast, sugar EVOO and water sit in a bowl or measuring cup for a few minutes (until frothy and happy)...add to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until kneadable (is that a word?)

Knead until soft, elastic and might need to add a little more flour. Let sit in a bowl until double (an hour or two). This recipe makes a whopping 6-8 medium pizzas...or in my case 2-3 big ones.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, get a stone really hot in that oven and slap down your pizza crust on that hot stone. It will begin to bake immediately and give you the next best thing to a wood fired oven baked pizza. Start putting on your toppings and you'll be a hit in 25 minutes! Pizzas should usually bake for 18-20 minutes at that temp....let them sit for 5 minutes out of the oven before slicing (I know it's hard to wait!)

The next most important thing in making a great pizza is the sauce! I have experimented with hundreds of recipes...this is my favorite. It comes from the Flying Pie Pizzeria in Boise, Idaho and I have been making it for over 20 years. Not only is it easy and cheap, but it freezes well. For grins and giggles you can add other ingredients to it as you please (anchovy paste, sliced olives, garlic...etc)

All Day Pizza Sauce (in 5 Minutes)

1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can Tomato Paste (6 oz)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 tsp. Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning (I use my own fresh herbs when in season)
1/2 tsp. Oregano (also fresh in my garden when I can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all this together and use. Will make enough for 8-9 pizzas. Adjust the seasonings to your own personal preference. I add fresh basil and crushed red peppers (Jim loves the spice).

There's that!

Other great places to check out pizza recipes are: Wolfgang Puck--especially his Caesar Chicken Pizza, his Shrimp and Goat Cheese Pizza (my personal favorite) and his Spicy Chicken Pizza....all of them are to die for!!! Don't know if you can get into a cookbook called "Pizza Pizzaz, From Basic to Gourmet by Richard Erickson"...but this one is by far the best cookbook I have for pizzas and is my Pizza Bible....sourdough crusts, whole wheat crusts, Putanesca sauce,'s a cheap little booklet, torn up now and well used...published by The American Cooking Guild 1-800-367-9388, ISBN 0-942320-19-0.

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