Monday, August 29, 2016

Extra-Crispy Tortilla Pizza

I'm ashamed to admit that one of my all-time guilty pleasures is Totino's Party Pizza.  There's just something I love about the extra crispy crust, the barely there tomato sauce, and even the painfully artificial cheese.  It's probably a good thing that it's not sold anywhere near where I live, otherwise I'd probably be eating it way too much.

That hasn't stopped me from trying to figure out how to replicate it at home, though, and this recipe from Serious Eats is the closest I've gotten.  While I still prefer Ken Forkish's Same Day Straight Pizza Dough for its chewiness and flavor, I like the use of flour tortillas in this recipe for a quick and easy alternative.

In order to get the tortilla extra crispy, it's cooked first on the stove top in a skillet that has a diameter the same size as the tortilla.  You'll want to use one that can be transferred to the oven, like a cast iron skillet, because it's going under the broiler next to get the cheese all melty.

Since I don't usually have pizza sauce on hand, I've been using ground peeled tomatoes and then adding a sprinkle of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  The original recipe calls for fresh basil as a final topping, but I tried using some of the fresh oregano I got in my Boston Organics delivery this week, and I found that it makes the pizza taste even more like Party Pizza.

Extra-Crispy Tortilla Pizza (adapted from Serious Eats)
makes 1 small thin pizza

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 (eight-inch) flour torilla
1-2 tablespoons pizza sauce
Small handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh oregano or basil leaves

Preheat the broiler to high.

Add the olive oil to a cast iron pan with an 8" diameter and heat over high heat.  Once it shimmers, reduce the heat to medium and use a folded paper towel to coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Wipe the excess oil onto the rough side of the flour tortilla.  Place the tortilla rough side down in the pan.

Spoon on the pizza sauce and spread all over, right up to the edge of the tortilla.  Sprinkle on the cheese and top with a few oregano or basil leaves.

Move the pan to the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, just a few minutes.  Use a spatula to check if the bottom is crispy enough to your liking.  If not, return to the stovetop and continue to cook until crispy enough.

Transfer to a wooden cutting board, slice, and serve!

Next:  Macau-Style Portuguese Chicken Rice
Previously:  Zucchini Pizza
Two Years Ago:  Jacques Genin's Mango Passion Caramels
Three Years Ago:  Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread

Monday, August 15, 2016

Zucchini Pizza

I used to cringe a little whenever I got zucchini or summer squash in my Boston Organics delivery because while I liked the vegetable enough not to add it to my "No List", I didn't like it enough to know what to do with it other than to stir fry it with garlic or grate it into an amnesty bread.  But that all changed when I saw Smitten Kitchen's post about summer squash pizza.

I tweaked the recipe (which is originally from Jim Lahey of no-knead bread fame) a little by using my favorite pizza crust instead of the one in her post because I already had some on hand.  I also tossed the breadcrumbs in a little olive oil for a little extra crunch and to protect it from burning too fast.

I wasn't really sure about having to buy the Gruyere cheese and even made it for the first time without the cheese and substituting with some minced garlic and olive oil (which, by the way, ended up being pretty darn good and worth trying if you don't eat cheese).  But then I caved in and got a small block of Gruyere.  And boy oh boy was it amazing.  Divine.  Glorious!  In the oven, the cheese melts and binds the shredded zucchini together in a holy matrimony of texture and flavor.  It's simply perfect.

Zucchini Pizza (adapted from Jim Lahey by way of Smitten Kitchen)
makes 1 pizza

8 oz. ball of pizza dough
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, about 1/2 lb.
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 oz. Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
1 generous tablespoon breadcrumbs
Drizzle of olive oil

Place a pizza stone on an oven rack set at the top 1/3 of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Trim off the round end of the zucchini and using the other end as a handle, shred the zucchini on the coarse holes of a box grater.  Squeeze the shredded zucchini in your hands to remove the water and transfer a fistful at a time to a small mixing bowl.  Add the salt and mix well.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes so that more water is released.  Squeeze the zucchini again until you get out as much water as possible.  Mix with the Gruyere cheese.

Mix the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil, just enough to moisten and clump them together a little.

Stretch the dough onto a parchment paper-lined flexible cutting board.  Top with the zucchini-cheese mixture then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.  Slide the pizza (still on the parchment paper) onto the pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are golden.  Use tongs to slide the pizza with the parchment paper from the pizza stone onto a cutting board.  Slice and eat!

Next:  Extra-Crispy Tortilla Pizza
Previously:  My Mom's Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Two Years Ago:  Grace's Ginger Scallion Fish
Three Years Ago:  S'mores Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches