I consider myself someone who really likes food. But recently, I keep meeting people who really really like food.
A few months ago, we went to our friends’ house for brunch. They made, among other things, khao man gai, which they served with three homemade condiments including an irresistible chile-garlic sauce. And then, as a palate cleanser, they poured homemade salty sour plum juice mixed with seltzer over ice. And then they made negronis. I could have stayed all morning.
Last Thursday, two other friends came for dinner, and they brought a few cheeses, Marcona almonds, wrinkled black olives, and a plate of prosciutto and capocollo. They had made the prosciutto and capocolla. They make wine every fall.
I need to up my game.
But these friends, these people — you know them. They follow the Times obsessively. They have been long-time admirers of Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. They know exactly what to do with ramps, fiddlehead ferns and garlic scapes. They read every word of Lucky Peach. They make cross-country voyages for pizza.
So when you bump into them at your local co-op and you tell them you’ve put your life on hold to read Delancey, they ask if you’ve been to Di Fara or their gold standard, Una Pizza Napoletana. And then later that night, they email you links to articles, podcasts, and videos, which you read and listen to and watch until the wee hours of the morning.
And as you continue to put your life on hold, you have near panic attacks because all you want to do is pull all of these friends together — the wine makers, the plum picklers — and take over the nail salon on Nott St., a one-story space* rumored to be vacated imminently, and open a little spot that serves housemade prosciutto, a few simple salads, and wood-fired pizzas, maybe something like the Zucchini Anchovy I read about in Delancey.
I have no idea if Delancey still serves the Zucchini Anchovy, but when Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg were drafting their opening menu, they included it with a few other sauceless pizzas. A nod to a Roman classic, their version used thinly shaved zucchini in place of zucchini blossoms.
For our friends last Thursday, I made this with the addition of garlic and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, something Anthony Mangieri adds to every pie he makes. And with this pizza on the table — the subtle flavor of anchovy, the melting summer squash, the creamy burrata, the fresh basil — I think I almost convinced our friends to get on board with the Nott St. pizzeria. At the very least, a seed was planted. Ahhh, it’s fun to dream.
*As I read in Delancey, to keep costs down, a one-story space is preferable when wood-fired ovens and their chimneys are involved.
This is the beauty of the Lahey pizza dough — all of those air pockets will create the nicest texture in the finished crust:
A little anchovy and garlic go a long way:
A sprinkling of nice, coarse sea salt is a nice addition to any pizza:
The beauty of the Baking Steel:
Dough Source: Jim Lahey’s: My Pizza. This dough takes five minutes to throw together but must be made a day or two before you plan on baking.
I love to use this Tipo 00 flour, which I order in bulk and store in the freezer, for this recipe because one bag conveniently weighs 1000g, which is what the recipe calls for.
- 7 1/2 cups (1000 grams) all-purpose or tipo 00 flour, plus more for shaping dough
- 4 teaspoons fine sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
for each pizza:
- extra-virgin olive oil
- baby kale, about 2 oz.
- nice sea salt, such as Maldon
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Add more water if necessary, a tablespoon at a time — dough should not be stiff. Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth bowl cover and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough ball. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, quickly shape into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
- Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. Proceed with recipe or transfer each to a plastic quart container, cover, and store in fridge.
- To Make the Pizzas: Pull out a pizza round from the fridge one hour before you plan on baking. Dust dough with flour and place on a floured work surface. Place a Baking Steel on a rack set in the top third of the oven, and heat oven to its hottest setting, 550°F. Be sure the Steel heats at the hottest setting for at least 45 minutes.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a peel. Drizzle a few drops of oil (1/2 a teaspoon or so) into the center. Spread with your hand. Gently shape dough into a 10″–12″ disk handling it as minimally as possible. Arrange dough disk on parchment-lined baking peel.
- Top pizza as desired or to make this kale and crème fraîche pizza: Place the kale in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt, and toss. Spoon crème fraîche over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border or so. Sprinkle with the garlic and a handful of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Top with the kale. Shimmy the pizza, parchment paper and all into the oven.
- Bake pizza until top is blistered, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a work surface. Slice and serve.
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