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November 21, 2007

Pan-Fried Pizza — No Oven Required

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That's different.

Mark Bittman's November 7, 2007 New York Times "The Minimalist" column featured an introduction along with his recipe; both follow.

    A Basic Pie: No Oven Required

    Not long ago, toppings for pizza were becoming unbearably fancy — hoisin-slathered duck, or fontina and truffles — or just ridiculous (you’ve seen the ones with pasta?). Pizza threatened to become something other than pizza. Fortunately, that trend has reversed.

    Nevertheless, it is still fun to innovate, or to adopt a pizza tradition you were not familiar with. My friend Ed Schneider, a sometime food writer and brilliant home cook, called me recently with a suggestion that sounded so good I tried it immediately: pan-fried pizza [top].

    Turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that pizza fritta probably originated in Naples; you can also find it in Scotland, sometimes stuffed with chips, but enough said about that.

    The principles and ingredients are classic, the technique and results strikingly different from what pizza lovers have come to expect.

    Take pizza dough and shape it — small disks are best — then fry it in enough olive oil to crisp the bottom. Then flip it.

    If the toppings are hot (as, for example, tomato sauce might be) or the quantities small (a bit of grated cheese, rather than a pile), all you need to do from this point is drop them on top, then brown the bottom of the second side.

    If, on the other hand, you choose to load on the toppings, you must either cover the pan or run the whole thing under the broiler, so that they get good and hot.

    The result is a small pie, ultracrisp, with the wonderful flavor of olive oil permeating the dough.

....................

Here's the recipe.

    Pan-Fried Pizza

    Time: About 2 hours

    2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more as needed

    3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

    1 teaspoon coarse salt

    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for cooking

    About 2 cups any light, fresh tomato sauce, warmed

    Sliced mozzarella to taste

    Salt and black pepper

    Prosciutto slices and basil leaves for topping (optional).

    1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. Turn machine on and add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons oil through feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. (If mixture becomes too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)

    2. Put one tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and turn dough ball in it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. When dough is ready, re-form into a ball and divide it into 4 pieces; roll each piece into a ball. Place each piece on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until each puffs slightly, about 20 minutes.

    3. When ready to cook, press one ball into about a 10-inch round. Use a little flour, if needed, to prevent sticking and a rolling pin, if desired. Film a 10-inch skillet with olive oil and turn heat to medium. When oil shimmers, put dough in pan and adjust heat so it browns evenly without burning. (If dough puffs up unevenly in spots, push bubbles down.)

    4. Turn dough, then top browned side with tomato sauce, cheese, a bit of salt and pepper, and, if you like, prosciutto and/or basil leaves. If top is now heavily laden, cover pan and continue cooking, or run it under broiler, just until toppings become hot. With only a couple of toppings, just cook until bottom browns. Repeat with remaining dough; serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

    Yield: At least 4 servings.

November 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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