Perfect Pizza – June 2013
No restaurant recommendations for you this week as I am in the process of moving house which has meant that evenings have been spent putting my meagre belongings into boxes and getting angry. However what I do have for you is the best pizza topping recipe ever (which if you to happen to be angry will, I guarantee, make you happier).
Pizza was the first thing that Miss A ever cooked for me, if I discount the Baby Bear portion of porridge I received many hours earlier. I remember it being a damn fine pizza, but as I was so hungry I think a cereal box would have tasted pretty delicious too. So it pleases me to report that Miss A’s pizza making skills are as good as I remember (this is just one of the many reasons why I am in love with her). She made the following pizza for us last weekend and it is an absolute knock out!
Now, before you get started you need to make sure you are going to do things properly. You really need a pizza stone or a block of granite in your oven that you can heat to an ungodly temperature – this will give you a nice crispy base and will mean that you don’t have to precariously balance your fine creation across the rungs of your oven. Secondly you need a good pizza dough recipe, Jamie will sort you out. It takes a bit of time but it is well worth it and kneading is a pretty Zen activity which is good for those of us who rush around too much and get angry about moving house.
So for the best pizza topping ever you will need the following (this will make 2 good size pizzas):
– 3 /4 good quality Toulouse sausages (don’t be a cheap skate buy from a posh deli or butcher)
– 1 bulb of fennel chopped – keep the leaves for garnish
– 2 cloves of garlic – smashed up
– 1 ball good quality mozzarella (see sausages above)
– Bottle of passata for the tomato base
– 2 sprigs of rosemary (torn, smashed, chopped, whatever)
– Chilli flakes (to taste)
– Caramelised red onions (easy to make try here)
– Lemon zest
– Salad leaves
– Good quality EV olive oil
First put your pizza stone / granite in the oven and wrack the temperature up as high as it will go, then it is time to start to make your caramelised onions (see above). When they are in the pan and cooking slowly you can move on to the sausages.
Leave them whole and fry in a bit of oil, after about ten minutes (you want to brown them off nicely) add the fennel, garlic and rosemary and cook for another ten minutes or so until the sausages and fennel are cooked.
When you’ve made your dough and let it rise and fall and ferment and whatever else it has to do, roll it out on semolina flour (this bit is really important as it will give your base a nice crispness) and place it on the pizza stone (which you remove from the oven) then spoon on some passata, blob some mozzarella, cut up your sausages and arrange as you will, add the fennel, garlic and caramelized onions and sprinkle on chilli flakes (add as much or as little as you like) and the rest of the rosemary then stick it in the oven – depending on your oven this will take anything between 5-10 minutes.
When it looks done (keep an eye on it) take it out of the oven, sprinkle on a few salad leaves, torn basil, chopped up fennel leaves and the lemon zest and drizzle on some good quality extra virgin olive oil and a generous grind of black pepper.
Now at this point you might be thinking you’d like to take a picture of your pizza and Instagram it, but if I were you I wouldn’t, I’d get yourself a few beers – forget about the 21st century for a while and tuck in! Unfortunately you won’t have the darling Miss A to share it with, but hey – you can’t have everything…