Pizza – a variety of flavours in the same dish with a unmatched flexibility in the recipe, and no need for knives and forks either!
Home pizzas have come a long way in the last couple of decades. The list of accessories to aid in their cooking has increased from the old days of using your baking tray to today’s pizza stones, perforation rollers and perforated trays.
My preference is to use a deep-dish pizza stone. I get a very crisp base on the pizza, which is how I like them. I do like a lot of cheese on my pizza and the deeper sides on the dish contain the cheese and toppings a little better for a cleaner end result. The more cheese, the softer the base, accordingly any crisp base technique that works well with lots of cheese will certainly get my vote.
Put the fully constructed pizza into the deep-dish pizza stone and place it into a cold oven. Then set your oven to 450F/225C. The pizza stone heats up as the oven heats and this reduces the risk of the stone cracking. It’s a complete no-no to put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven.
My deep-dish pizza stone is the D-line brand which is available from most kitchenware stores.
Because everybody’s oven heats at a different rate, cooking time will be dependant on your oven. Cooking time will be up to you on how crispy you want the base and how golden and melted you want your cheese.
2 cups white bread flour
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (5g) instant yeast
2 tsp salt
320ml warm water
Polenta or semolina, for dusting
1. To make the dough by hand mix together the flours, yeast, salt and water in a bowl until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Add the oil to the dough and mix it in.
2. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth and silky.
3. Place the dough onto a clean work surface and then flatten it into a circle. Using a couple of fingers and a thumb, lift the edge of the dough furthest from you and bring it into the centre of the dough circle. Press the lifted dough down with your fingers, rotate the circle an 1/8 of a turn and repeat the lifting process.
4. After a complete circle or two of the dough, form it into a ball and place in a clean bowl. Place the bowl into a clean plastic bag, seal and allow the yeast to do its magic.
4. When the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place onto a work surface that has been lightly dusted with polenta. Using your fingers, pat and prod the pizza base out into a circle shape suitable for the deep-dish pizza stone.
1kg very ripe Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. Halve the tomatoes and lay them cut side up in a roasting dish. Mix the garlic with the olive oil and pour over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and roast for approximately 40 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Place a sieve over a bowl and then pass the roasted tomatoes through the sieve.
I like to divide my pizza base into sections and put a different topping on each section. This way you get clean pure flavours on your pizza. I also may add a different cheese (melting type) onto each segment as well such as Gruyere, cheddar or Emmenthal. Another alternative is to have a combination of seafood toppings on each section – maybe tailored to each person’s preference.
Spoon some of the roasted tomato sauce over the pizza base. Lay slices of fresh melting cheese over the tomato sauce.
For a seafood pizza, I suggest using small green prawns on one section, perhaps scallops (when in season) on another. If your scallops are large, then slice them through to halve their thickness before placing on the pizza. Fresh mussel meat is also another great topping on your seafood pizza.
You could also try crabmeat, anchovies, smoked salmon (add a few capers to the segment with your smoked salmon), baby octopus or thin squid rings.
Add a little cheese over the seafood and then cook your pizza in a hot oven until golden and bubbling.Reads: 1021