Sunday, March 02, 2008

Potato Pizza

Sun 2 Mar 2008

My own late entry to my own blog event ... in the big run up to the long weekend in London (more on that to come) I suddenly realised what I had neglected.

I had such plans ... a visit to the farmers' market to source some interesting variety of potato, and then home cook up at least one interesting creation. Since I'm quite an organised individual, the level of disorganisation required to stuff this up has irked me somewhat.

So I present - potato, rosemary and garlic pizza. One of my favourite things: a good, simple Italian pizza. An onion pizza on the Ponte Vecchio aged 21 totally rid me of the idea that a pizza needs to have a billion different ingredients heaped on it and need to be drowned in cheap, greasy cheese.

Today, despite some pretty ferocious wind, it was sunny and our kitchen has big windows, which meant it was lovely and warm and perfect for working some yeast up into a froth and proving bread dough. For my pizza dough, I used a 'recipe' from Antonio Carluccio's Complete Italian Food: 400g of good strong white flour (00 if you have it) plus water (about 250mL), salt and yeast. Everything behaved today and the dough was gorgeous and silky and rose in a quite out of control manner. Yes, making your own bread by hand takes a while ... after all, you have to allow the yeast some time to work (2 generous tsp of dried yeast, approx 200mL of warm water, probably only about 1/2 tsp of caster sugar), you have to knead the dough (hardly a trial when it's sooo soft) and then you have to sit around having coffee and reading the paper while it rises.

When the dough was ready to go, I greased my pizza tray lightly with light olive oil, halved the dough and rolled and patted it out to fit the tray. I let this sit a little while longer, before putting the Magimix to work to slice finely some peeled Mairs Piper potatoes (if your taties are attractive, leave the skin on). I mixed the potatoes with more light olive oil, some very finely minced garlic, some finely chopped rosemary and a good couple of turns from the salt mill.

Layer your potatoes as attractively as you choose (although I would recommend pushing them right out to the edge of the dough) and then bake your pizza. Despite over six months with this oven and I am still struggling. In theory, pizza should be baked as hot as possible. Despite being a fan oven, my oven seems incapable of distributing the heat evenly and (I discovered) is also not quite big enough for the pizza tray, which meant some potato was dislodged. Baking takes about 15-20 minutes in a hot fan-forced oven.

We had one for afternoon tea and supper, and the other will be frozen. It's a good, honest simple dish, with the garlic and rosemary providing plenty of flavour. It may be an idea to bake with some tinfoil over the pizza to prevent burning.

The Maris Piper is a pretty versatile potato: it's widely available and mid-way on the British Potato Council's waxy/floury scale. It rates as excellent for making chips, but also good for baking, roasting and boiling. Plenty of sources claim it's also excellent for mashing. Is there anything it can't do?! Apparently the plant has purple flowers (I like it already). And ... it is the chip-shop potato of choice (I feel bad I didn't just make chips: I'll have to put in an order for a fryer for my birthday!).

I apologise for the delay in posting the round up ... this will happen tomorrow night (Tuesday), GMT.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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