Redemption

Wait! Don’t take me out of your RSS feeds just because of last weekend’s pizza FAIL. I had two small balls of dough left over, so tonight I redeemed myself by making two small but beautiful pizzas.

This time I let the dough rest out of the fridge all day long. (I had no choice, as both Martine and I were out of the house all day). It worked perfectly; the dough was soft and elastic in only one direction — as in, it didn’t insist on springing back from every stretch.

I fired up the oven and after about an hour of pre-heating, assembled the first pie. It was a re-make of Saturday night’s prosciutto and arugula pizza (with simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, of course). It was pretty small (about 10 inches), but significantly thinner than Saturday night’s version . In other words, it was the appropriate size for the amount of dough I was working with. As usual, I added the arugula and the sprinkle of Parmesan cheese after the pizza came out of the oven.

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The second pizza was composed of the usual simple sauce, some oregano, mozzarella cheese, and Moroccan black olives and white onions. (This is the only arrangement in which I like olives on a pizza, but that’s a whole other discussion.) Voilà!

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I’m back in the saddle again.

8 thoughts on “Redemption

  1. Blork, even with your FAIL night, you still are one of the best home chef out there!

  2. I came across a posting on BoingBoing last night that made me think of your never-ending quest for the perfect pizza.

    Apparently you can get the perfect crust by heating the hell out of a cast-iron pan, then turning it upside down, laying the pizza down on the bottom of the pan, and putting the whole thing on the top shelf of the oven, under the broiler, for four or five minutes.

    Skeptical? so am I, but read for yourself:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/09/howto-cook-a-kickass.html

  3. Thanks for the tip, Mo. But I’m already familiar with the iron skillet method. I haven’t tried it, for a variety of reasons. For one, my iron skillet has a beautiful black seasoning on it, built up over 15 or so years of effort. If I left the pan on the stove under high heat for 20 minutes (as the method suggests) then I would burn that seasoning off, essentially ruining the pan.

    Also, the whole thing seems a bit weird and fraught with danger. My prized iron skillet weighs about ten pounds. How easy do you think it would be to take a ten pound iron skillet off the stove, flip it, and insert it in the oven without breaking a wrist or causing major burns?

    What this method really cries out for is for is a cast iron crepe pan or something like that — something flat that doesn’t need to be flipped. I’m going to keep an eye out for exactly that, and if I find it I might give it a shot!

  4. I was actually thinking the exact same thing when I read the article.

    Also, why bother turning the pan upside down? Is it only so that it’s easier to slide the pizza off when it’s done? Wouldn’t a fully cooked pizza crust slide out of a right-side-up pan just as easily?

    I actually have a cast-iron crape pan, but unfortunately it comes with a (charred) Bakelite handle, so it probably won’t enjoy being put under a broiler.

    But the theory seems sound enough… find a material with a high specific heat capacity (iron or copper are good) and thermal conductivity (copper beats iron 10:1), heat it the hell up, then slide your pizza onto it and under the broiler.

    A crepe pan would be the right shape, but a heavy copper crepe pan runs around $250. You’d have to make a lot of pizza to pay that off.

  5. Yeah, that never made sense to me. However, I’m wondering if perhaps a cast-iron platter/plate might not be better than a stone. I’m just wondering about the physics of it . . . there’s no way that it could actually be HOTTER than a pizza stone but it might transfer its heat more readily and deliver a good char.

    And you know, I think I TRIED that idea a while back. I guess if it had worked I would have remembered it.

    But let me just say this: REHEATING the pizza by cast-iron pan is WAY better and more efficient than reheating it in an oven. Try it, you’ll see.

  6. Mo, the idea of turning the pan upside down is so you can slide your pizza off of the peel and onto the flat surface. If you try to drop the pizza into the normal side of the pan it will droop and fall apart. You gotta slide it.

    I looked around, and there are cast iron and enamel cast iron pizza pans on the market, but the write-ups about them are sketchy. They seem to be intended to be used at 450F, which makes no sense at all. Also, people talk about using them as serving platters, which is just wrong! Heck, if the thing is going to be scorching hot and able to cook a pizza in three or four minutes, you’re not going to LEAVE the pizza on the thing and bring it to the table!

  7. Hmm . . . in this pizza quest of mine I’ve tried almost everything, and people swear by almost everything . . . have you ever used a pizza screen? Absolutely useless. Half-baked, but Pizza Hut apparently swears by them. The cast-iron thingy sounds as though it COULD work, but it would have to be a hell of a big pan and I certainly wouldn’t be removing it from the oven.

    And Blork is right, who knows what might happen to it at 550 degrees? Might set the pizza on fire. Let alone the corn meal, which last session DID catch on fire . . . but that’s for another day.

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