I had been dreaming about this pizza every since I got back from Italy, when I walked into Carrie and Mike's cozy kitchen. Carrie was just slicing up a pizza smeared with fig jam, topped with prosciutto, and piled high with lightly olive oil-dressed arugula.
What a welcome sight on a cold winter's night, a friend making you pizza.
There's something for every taste bud on a pizza like this: sweet, salty, crispy, grassy, creamy, tangy, lemony, meaty. It must be eaten piping hot to fully enjoy the contrast of the sweet figs and the salty prosciutto, the hot crust and cold arugula.
Carrie's Breakfast Pizza, with potatoes, bacon and eggs.
Carrie just celebrated a birthday this month; let me tell you a little bit about my friend. Not only is Carrie a great pizza-designer, she wears many other hats as well: mother of boys, artist of note, ripping skier, and Director of the Jackson Hole Public Art Initiative
. She is the creative muse of our small Western town, which sometimes struggles with diversification and breaking out of the "Western Art" cliche. You can view a sample of her paintings at Tayloe Piggot Gallery
, here in Jackson.
One of Carrie's paintings hangs on the wall of her living room decorated with books. Piles of books in my house look like clutter; in Carrie's house, it is art.
She is also an amazing cook, the kind of home cook who elegantly pulls off feeding a hungry crowd with ease. I love her Breakfast Pizza, topped with potatoes, bacon and sunny side up eggs. Thanks for the inspiration, Carrie!
Making pizza for a crowd can sometimes be a time-consuming endeavor. Taking a tip from Mario Batali, I decided to try par-baked pizza crusts at my last pizza party. The crusts are formed ahead of time, browned stove-top on a griddle pan, then finished off under the broiler just before serving.
I was lucky to have uber-energetic 6th grader Riley helping me make pizza apres ski one day.
You can make the pizza dough and par-bake the crusts earlier in the day, or even a few days ahead of time. Then when your guests arrive, all there is to do is top the crusts and give them a quick spin under the broiler.
I like to stash away a few crusts to make Carrie's Breakfast Pizza later in the week. Breakfast pizza is a sure way to put a smile on a tired kid's face as he gets ready for school.
A peak into my freezer shows I always have some pizza dough from Jackson Whole Grocer. And Alexia Hash Browns, which are a seriously delicious addiction.
No time to make pizza dough? Look for good quality frozen pizza dough made in-house at Jackson Whole Grocer. Some pizza restaurants, such as Rocky Mountain Pizza Pie (in Jackson, WY) and Wildlife Pizza (in Victor, ID) will also sell you freshly made dough.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Arugula topped pizza with figs and prosciutto
This recipe, from Mario Batali's Molto Gusto cookbook, makes eight 9-10 inch pizzas. You may want to make them all arugula topped with figs and prosciutto, or use some of your favorite toppings.
If you want to make the pizza crusts ahead of time, the crusts can be shaped, pan-fried and rested. Up to 2 days later, they are topped and finished off under the broiler. Or you can wrap them well with plastic wrap, and freeze them for up to 2 months.
For the pizza dough:
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- a 1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast, or about 7 grams.
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 3 1/2 cups "double 00" flour, or all-purpose flour
- Scant 2 Tbsp. salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Semolina flour, for dusting
Doppio zero (double '00') flour imported from Naples is ideal for making pizza dough. But all-purpose flour works just fine.
For the toppings:
- 1 large or 6 small balls of fresh mozzarella (about 3 slices per pizza)
- 1 large bunch of arugula
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. fig jam per pizza
- kosher salt, a generous pinch
- Juice from half a lemon
- 12 slices of prosciutto, sliced thin
To make the pizza dough:
- First, proof the yeast. Place the water (warmed to 95F), yeast, and sugar together in a bowl. Let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. HINT: 95 degree F water will feel warm to your touch, but not hot. Warm tap water works fine. If the water is too hot, it will kill off the yeast; if it is too cold, it will not proof. Either way, there will be no foam and you will have to start over.
- If using a standing mixer, fit it with a dough hook, and place the flour and salt in the bowl and mix well. With the mixer on low, add the yeast mixture and oil, mixing well. Slowly increase the mixer speed to medium-high, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and give it a few turns by hand to finish kneading it. The dough will be slightly sticky. (Skip to step 7).
- If mixing by hand, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the yeast mixture and oil.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the wet and dry ingredients until the mixture is too stiff to stir. Then mix with your hands in the bowl until the dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding only as much flour as needed to prevent it from getting too sticky. The dough should be smooth and elastic a only a bit sticky when it's done.
- Transfer the dough to a metal or ceramic bowl coated with olive oil, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Foaming tells you that the yeast are activated by the addition of the sugar and the warm water, and they are dividing.
It can be difficult to find a draft-free place in my kitchen, so I like to let the dough rise in the microwave oven.
Doubled in size and ready to be divided into balls.
8. Punch down the dough, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Divide it into 8 pieces (about 4 oz. each) and shape each into a ball. Cover with a towel and let stand for 15 minutes. Or place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for later use.
9. To shape the dough, press and stretch it out to a 9-10 inch round. If the dough starts to stick, add small amounts of semolina flour and water.
Riley presses the dough in the center....
and uses the palms of her hands to flatten out the ball of dough.
Riley's heart-shaped pizza turned out perfectly thin and crispy; she's a pro!
10. Quickly stretch the dough out into a 9-10 inch round, being careful not to
overwork the dough.
11. To par-bake the pizza crust: Heat a griddle pan or a nonstick pan to medium heat. Carefully place the pizza round on the preheated pan and cook until barely tan on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Flip the crust over and cook until the second side is completely dry, about 1 minute longer.
12. Transfer the crust to a wire rack or a baking sheet, brushing off any excess flour, and allow to cool. At this point, the par-baked crust can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated overnight, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
You can use more mozzarella than this if you like, but I don't like my pizza that cheesy.
13. Prep the toppings: Rinse the arugula in cold water, and spin in a salad spinner, or carefully dry on a dish towel. Toss arugula with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Keep cool in the refrigerator.
14. Slice the mozzarella slices.
15. Finish the pizzas: Preheat the broiler on high. Spread a few Tbsp. of fig jam on the crust. Top with a few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.
16. You can also top with slices of prosciutto at this point if you like it hot and crispy, or you can wait and place the prosciutto after broiling, if you like it warm and soft.
17. Slide the pizza about 4 inches under the broiler, and broil for 7-8 minutes, watching carefully so that the pizza doesn't burn.
18. Immediately top with the folded slices of prosciutto, and pile high with arugula. Serve immediately.
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Ooh, I just love this pizza. Make some soon.
I love Dalmatia Fig Spread smeared on thick slices of toasted 460Bread and topped with feta cheese. My idea of the perfect breakfast.
Pizza Making Tips from Mario Batali
- Get out all the equipment you will need first: a standing mixer, a large bowl, a wooden spoon, a whisk, and a griddle. (Remember Mis en Place?)
- Get a pizza peel. It will make the process easier and more fun.
- Use a whisk to mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.
- Work quickly when shaping the dough; pizza dough becomes limp and sticky the longer it is stretched.
Here's your culinary word for this week:
Semolina: Semolina is ground from durum wheat, a hard wheat high in protein. It comes in both coarse and fine grinds; fine semolina is sometimes referred to as semolina flour. Semolina is used to make pasta and a version of gnocchi; it is also sometimes used in tortas or other desserts. (You can find Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour at most grocery stores)
from Molto Gusto, Easy Italian Cooking, by Mario Batali