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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pizza #2 - leek and cauliflower pizza with a thin crust a 'la Lahey

I had half of the dough in the fridge, left over from the last time I made a pizza using Lahey's dough recipe.  It was actually getting a bit old; Lahey doesn't advise keeping it as long as I had it in the fridge.  But it seemed okay to me; it still had some bubbles in the dough.  I did have to toss a tiny fingernail piece away, because it had come in contact with the air, but inside the oiled baggy, it kept quite well.

Again, I'm not following Lahey's recipe for the toppings, or even his method for preparation.  I simply rolled out the dough and put it on a thin cold baking stone.  From that moment on, I was experimenting.

While the oven preheated to 475 degrees, I drizzled olive oil on the surface of the dough, and sprinkled some spices -- oregano, and rosemary.  I went to the garden and pulled one of the leeks that had overwintered well; and I went to the fridge and took out a couple of florets of cauliflower that were leftover from the previous night's dinner.  I was able to cut the leek very fine, without a mandoline, and the florets I just divided up as small pieces here and there.  They were still quite moist from being boiled yesterday, so I was hoping they would not burn even though they were sticking up a bit.

I found some olives, and some chanterelle mushrooms I picked some time ago and preserved in oil.  I rinsed off the oil and gave them a good squeeze.  If there were any bacteria also preserved, I was hoping that the 475 degree oven would also do them in.  I only put the wild mushrooms on my side of the pizza, I didn't want anyone else getting sick if there was any possibility of food poisoning.

For cheese, I used a tiny bit of parmasan, and a fair bit of mozzarella.  The medium orange cheddar was an afterthought, but I didn't go overboard with it, like last time.

I baked it as high in the oven as I could, and this seemed to be the right way to do it: the toppings cooked at roughly the same time that the cold dough started to crisp up at the edges on the cold stone, set far from the heat source.

The dough is thin and crisp, the toppings not overpowering, and yet they are almost all fairly familiar.

I had just finished my first slice when I noticed that I had set out the tomato sauce to go on the pizza, but had totally forgotten to include it.

It didn't need it.  In fact, it would have ruined the nice flavour of the leek and the cauliflower.  I ate half of the pizza and left the rest for my wife, who would have to heat it up in the microwave when she got home.  At least I hope she ate it.  I could have eaten more myself.

Notes to Myself:
  • This pizza cooked well when the cold stone was placed well away from the bottom of the oven where the heat source is located.  The toppings cooked at approximately the same time the thin crust was beginning to brown around the edges and become crisp: this worked well.
  • Use fresh ingredients, especially fresh mushrooms for your toppings.
  • Experiment with interesting vegetable toppings.  Think of combinations that you already know go together well.  Don't assume that everything will go with tomato or cheese.  Be prepared to break some rules.

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