Kitchen Conversion: Sandwich to Pizza
I recently checked out the cookbook Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley from our local library. The title kept cropping up here and there, and although I really (really, really) am not needing another cookbook for my collection, I decided that a short visit with it couldn’t hurt anyone. I’ve only explored it in fits and starts, but the other night I curled up with it a couple hours before dinner time to feast on a few pages while my kids played quietly in the other room. Oh, those are lovely moments.
As I turned the pages I saw so many things that had me thinking more and more particularly about dinner, but one recipe in particular caught my eye: Wild Mushroom Pizza with Fontina and Chives. This sounds familiar, I thought. Then I remembered! I had just made a mushroom, onion, and fontina grilled sandwich a couple weeks ago. Suddenly I could imagine the wonderful flavors of that sandwich transformed into pizza dinner. I jumped up off the couch and begin mixing the pizza dough. Nothing like a little inspiration to get you moving.
Mushroom, Carmelized Onion, and Fontina Pizza
(adapted from and inspired by Wild Mushroom Pizza with Fontina and Chives from Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes)
Be sure to start dough at least 2 hours before you want to eat, because of rise time–or make ahead of time.
makes three 8-oz balls of pizza dough
1 cup luke warm water
1 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I used either all-purpose, but want to try with w.w. pastry)
3 Tbsps vital wheat gluten flour (I think I used some bread flour I had on hand)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk the water and yest together in a 2-cup measuring cup and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the flous and salt and pulse to blend. Whisk the olive oil into the yeast mixture. With processor running, pour the yeast mixtue though the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. (If the dough does not form a ball, add lukewarm water by teaspoons until the dough comes together. Mine worked fine, so I haven’t tried this suggestion from the cookbook.)
Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface for about 1 minute. Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough stand until it doubles in volune, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down. Divide the dough into 3 even balls. Can be made ahead. Place balls individually in resealable bags, and refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze for 1 month. Let the refrigerated dough stand for 1 hour and frozen dough thaw 4 hours at room temperature before rolling.
1 tbsp olive oil
6 ozs mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in olive oil and a little salt(her recipe calls for while, but I just used what I have–which was what ever I got from our CSA that week– and mine may have been more like 8 oz) (you can saute these the day before)
1 1/2 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (or to your liking– I was using up a 1/2 chunk of it already in my fridge and some people like a lightly cheesed pizza)
1 purple onion, sliced thinly and caramelized or sauteed (you can do this the day before)
1 handful grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 and make sure one rack is at the top and one on the bottom. Preheat your baking stone if you like, but I found using a metal baking tray worked best (one without a lip works best).
Springle baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll dough out to a 12-inch round (or if you’re like me and pizza forming is NOT 2nd nature, shape it into that strange roundish rectangle shape you do best!). Brush lighly with olive oil (or pour a little on and use your fingers to spread about…that’s what I do to avoid washing the pastry brush!) Sprinkle with Fontina cheese. Distribute onions and mushrooms over cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake on the bottom rack until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to top rack and bake for about 3 minutes–at this point I slip it off the sheet directly onto the rack as I like a crispy bottom. Cut & Serve!
VARIATION: Try a fennel and sausage pizza. Saute sliced fennel with a little garlic and then cook up 2 sausages (removed from their casings). Use mozzarella for the cheese. My husband loved this variation.