Pizza La La

Remember when you were in school and the best two words that could be spoken or heard were, “pizza party”?

Yeah, it didn’t move me. The trouble is that red sauce. 

I was raised on it.  My mom was famous for her all-day, slow-cooked spaghettie sauce.  When my friends ate dinner with us and spaghetti was on the menu, they were lost.  They spent the rest of their lives chasing that red, garlic-scented dragon. 

For me though, after seventeen or eighteen gallons of it, the bloom was definitely off the pasta rose.  I’m just not a fan.

But, as you may know, Gentle Reader, I am first in line for bread.  And made well, pizza crust is a glorious celebration of yeast and gluten.  I make foccacia with my sourdough starter and use it as pizza crust.  My toppings of choice are marsalla onion jam, shatteringly crispy shards of bacon, and fresh mozzerella or goat cheese—no red sauce.

Nope.

Turns out my pizza dressing is a very close cousin to the French pissaladière, except I use bacon instead of anchovies (Bacon rather than little smelly fish? Duh.).

This focaccia is a yeast, rather than sourdough version that The Kid makes all the time.  It’s an adaptaion from a recipe that comes from the website, Serious Eats.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at dm@bullcity.mom.

Cast Iron Pissaladière-ish

Ingredients

3 & ¼ cups all-purpose or bread flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 ½ cups minus 1 tablespoon water

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into large shards

¼ cup deeply caramelized onions

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Coarse sea salt freshly cracked pepper

Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and water in large bowl. Mix with hands or wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. The bowl should be 4 to 6 times the volume of dough for rising.

Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure edges are well-sealed, then let rest on countertop for 8-24 hours. Dough should rise dramatically and fill bowl.

Sprinkle top of dough lightly with flour, then transfer to lightly-floured work surface. Form into ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking dough underneath itself, rotating until it forms tight ball.

Pour half of oil in bottom of large cast iron skillet. Transfer dough to pan, turn to coat in oil, and position seam-side-down. Using flat palm, press dough around skillet, flattening it slightly and spreading oil around entire bottom and edges of pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let dough stand at room temperature 2 hours. After first hour, preheat oven to 550°F.

After 2 hours, dough should mostly fill skillet up to edge. Use fingertips to press it around until it fills every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let air bubbles underneath escape and repeat, moving around the dough until there are no air bubbles left underneath and it’s evenly spread around skillet. Spread onions and bacon over surface of dough, dot with cheese, and press down with fingertips to embed slightly. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top’s golden brown and bubbly and bottom’s golden brown and crisp when you lift with spatula, 16-24 minutes. Using a thin spatula, loosen focaccia and peek underneath. If bottom is not as crisp as desired, place pan on burner and cook over medium heat, moving pan around to cook evenly until crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, allow to cool slightly, slice, and serve. Leftovers can be reheated on rack at 300°.

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