|Griddled Veggies & Goats Cheese Pizza|
We had our first pizza night in ages at Chez Foti last night. We’re very lucky to have an original bread oven in the house that makes the most excellent wood fired pizzas, though I have yet to use it to actually make bread – it’ll be this Winter’s challenge! Over the summer it’s just too hot to fire up as it’s stays warm for days, so homemade pizza is a cold weather treat for us. And the still hot oven is great the next day for warming up bread and croissants for breakfast, plus any lucky leftover pizza slices (an amazing hangover cure I find!). I think we gorged ourselves on pizza virtually every Saturday night last winter! It’s such a fun thing to do, and really not at all tricky. I would say it’s great for kids too, but it doesn’t really work for ours, at least not yet anyway! Francesca who’s three doesn’t like pizza, a very strange phenomenon for a child I know! And little Jacques’s in bed by the time the oven’s hot and ready to bake (it takes about two hours of wood burning). I’m sure almost all other kids would love to help with the kneading, topping and scoffing though.
|The roaring inside of our pizza oven|
Obviously you can make pizzas equally well in a domestic oven, just make sure the oven is set to the highest temperature it will go it and has been preheated for a good while before. Also important is that you bake the pizza on a pre-heated baking tray or special pizza stone….so that the dough starts cooking during assembly.
To make the pizza dough, enough for two largish pizzas:
350g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for kneading and dusting
1 tsp salt
6g dried yeast
1 desert spoon of honey
about 220ml warm water
Place the salt and flour in a large bowl and combine. Add the yeast, honey and water to a jug and mix. Leave for a few minutes for the yeast to act. Once the yeast is bubbling start to add the wet mix to the flour, at first stirring with a fork, then using your hands. Once the dough starts to come together place on a floured board or work surface and knead. Knead until the dough is soft and springy, about 10 minutes. Flour the dough all over and place in a bowl to rest. Cover with cling film and put in a warm place for about 30 – 60 minutes. The dough should be about double it’s original size. Once risen divide in two and either immediately roll out into your pizza shapes, or place the dough in the fridge until you’re ready.
|Salami, Courgette & Blue Cheese Pizza|
To make the tomato sauce, enough for two large pizzas:
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a handful of fresh basil leaves
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
Add the oil and garlic to a saucepan and cook very gently for a moment or two, ensuring you do not burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Cook for about 10 minutes then stir in the basil, sugar, a good grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit.
Salami, Courgette & Blue Cheese Pizza
½ the above pizza dough quantity
½ the above tomato sauce quantity
90g salami or french saucisse seche, sliced thinly
60g strongish blue cheese (Gorgonzola, Saint Agur, Roquefort, Stilton for example), cut or torn into small chunks
½ ball of Mozzarella, sliced thinly
1 small courgette, cut lengthways into 4mm strips (if griddling), or halfed lengthways and sliced into 4mm pieces (if roasting)
handful of black olives
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 250°C/gas 9, or as hot as it will go. Once hot preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet.
Firstly prep your courgette by cooking the strips in a very hot griddle pan. Cook on both sides until they are charred. Marinade the courgette in a little olive oil, good grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt. If you’re roasting the courgette instead, rub the slices with a little oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet in a hot oven for about 10 minutes or so.
Roll out your pizza dough to form a large circle. Place either on the pre-heated pizza stone or tray, it should sizzle a little as the dough starts to cook. You should now quickly assemble your pizza, as you don’t want the stone or tray to cool down much.
Spread the tomato sauce, evenly place the salami, then the courgette and finally the cheeses and olives. Add some extra pepper if you wish. Place in the hot oven for about 5 to 7 minutes until the pizza looks golden and crispy. The underside of the pizza should look a little golden. Slice and serve immediately!
Griddled Veggies and Goats Cheese Pizza
a few torn basil leaves