Thursday, May 13

Another pizza......with potato. Yes, potato.

In a delicious "Naples by way of Dublin" twist I give you the new fave in the Plum K. household, the potato pizza.
Pizza dough is surely the easiest of all breads to make, and if you are not in a tomato frame of mind this makes a top variation. We are often not in a tommy frame in our house, due to an unfortunate incident yonks ago with a dish very accurately labeled "three kinds of tomato pasta". I was newly arrived in London, lonely and jobless while my suited and booted other half trooped off to the City to talk about football all day and head to the pub after work (I think he did something in banking in between times). We were living with an 80 year old family friend, so as you can imagine we had little to converse about after the weather....I saw the offending recipe on an morning TV show, and thought I could at least be useful and make two compatriots were sick all day & night, i was fine so I dispute to this day it was my tomato extravaganza ......I spied this recipe in Dish last month, it is very similar to the focaccia dough I make, and the idea of potato, to a good Irish girl like me , on a pizza was intriguing.......anyway, enough raving, all you need for your dough is:

1 cup lukewarm water (remember heat kills yeast, so "blood temp" is about right), into which you place 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey, and 1.5 tsp dried yeast ( I used Tasti brand, in the baking aisle at any supermarket). Leave this for 5-10 mins in a warmish place till the little balls of yeast are replaced by a foam on the top of the water. This tells you the yeast is alive, and with the help of the sugar, is turning into the gas that will combine with the gluten in the flour and help your dough rise. It's magic! In a large bowl put two cups of High Grade flour. This has more gluten than standard, it might also be called Strong or Bread flour. Add to your flour a good tsp of salt, and a tsp or so of chopped fresh rosemary. This will smell heavenly when your dough is cooking.
Now add the yeast liquid to your flour, and using your hands mix together. You may not need all the liquid, just add about 3/4 of the cup and see how you go. I realise this lack of exactness is frustrating for newbies, but bread making is not an exact science, which is a good thing, honest. You will feel the dough coming together and when it is mostly a ball, rather than lots of separate bits of sticky flour, tip it onto the bench and start to knead. This is not tricky, just use your right hand to push the front of the ball of dough away from you, then pull it back and with your left hand twist the dough a quarter & repeat. Imagine you are stretching the dough, and as you work it, it becomes easier to stretch. After about 4-5 mins you will have a dough that feels smooth and springy under your fingers, if it still feels "tight" just give it another minute or two. Really that's all there is to it. Your dough can now be chucked back in the bowl with a tiny bit of oil rubbed on the surface, and left for about an hour or so in a warm place (I pop mine next to the heater, or next to the stove if I have the oven on) to double in size. This is called proving. I have made this in the morning while getting ready for work (honestly, it took all of 10 mins while I ate my toast) and then put it in the fridge, which slows down the proving time. When I got home I just left it on the bench for about 30 mins while I took makeup off, got changed blah blah, and it was good to go. Heat your oven to about 200 C, and place an oven tray in to heat also.
To make the topping simply thinly slice some waxy potato's (I use Red Desiree, Jersey Benne would be perfect also) and put in a saucepan of water with some salt. Bring to the boil, and boil for 1 minute, then drain, and slosh through some good olive oil. I use the peppery fancy stuff here, as I want plenty of flavour. A good grind of black pepper, an srpinkle of sea salt and some more chopped rosemary or chive and you are done. Take your dough out of the bowl and on your bench which has a sprinkle of flour, knead it again for about 30 seconds. Now you can roll it out to one big pizza or several smaller ones. I use a rolling pin, but an unopened bottle of wine would also work? I like quite a thin base, but it is up to you how you like it......

Take your hot tray out of the oven and slap the pizza dough on top. No oil or anything is needed on the tray. Tip your potato onto the dough and spread out so it is one thin layer. Sprinkle over a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The Kapati one is nice if you don't want to spend a fortune on the Italian stuff. I also used mozzarella last night because I had been given some, but it is fine without. Put the tray back in the oven, and in about 15-20 mins you will have a fabulous supper. I like to sprinkle a little more olive oil after it comes out, and some parma ham is also lovely, as is some fresh rocket. But the plain version is just me.

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