A cast iron skillet, pizza dough, toppings, a jug of wine and thou! I made this for lunch in under 10 minutes…I had to prepare the toppings, you know. Pizza done this way is so simple, and you get a nice crispy crust without heating up the whole house or BBQ-ing in 100ºF heat. Do you sense The Goddess avoids heat whenever possible? You would be correct in that assumption. This is a really fast way to prepare pizza. It takes about 4 minutes per crust. I tell ya’ it’ll take longer to put the toppings on, than it will to cook the dough! It’s that easy. Speaking of toppings, they are very first thing you need to do. Mince, chop, tear, grate and shred your toppings into submission. Remember, smaller pieces work better with this preparation.
Next, get the dough out of the fridge or better yet, make your own. I made a batch of pizza dough in the bread machine; I added some coarsely ground black pepper and roasted garlic to the mixture, just because. You can purchase pizza dough if you prefer, but you really should start to make your own. When the pizza dough cycle finished, I took fist-sized blobs of the dough (a little bigger than a tennis ball), floured the rolling surface and rolled the dough as thin as possible, into a 10-inch circle. I started to heat my 10-inch round, cast iron griddle when I started rolling the dough. It will take at least a couple of minutes to get it hot, hot, hot! This method, as least this description of the stove-top method, requires a cast iron griddle or skillet. I have done this with other types of skillets, but they behave significantly different and this is by far the easier and most reliable method. The pan needs to be hot when the dough hits the pan, then you turn the burner to low (Remember, I’m using a gas stove), set the timer for 1 minutes, 30 seconds and DON’T TOUCH THE DOUGH. Leave it alone. You may have noticed I don’t add any oil. This is a very well-seasoned pan. If you feel the need, brush a little bit of oil over the hot pan. Do NOT use a natural bristle brush or it will melt; silicone works great. Anyway, when the timer goes off, carefully lift one edge and peek at it. If you think it’s as brown as you want it, it’s ready to flip over. I use my fingers, but this is hot and if you do not have shoe-leather hands like mine, then you’ll burn yourself. I’m not certain I still have actual fingerprints anymore, so be the sane and rational one, use a tongs. If I’m just making crusts for future use, I flip the crust over and raise the heat just slightly to medium-low and set the timer for 2 minutes. Pull the dough off the griddle and put it on a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. You should have about 5-6 crusts, all ready to go, when you finish. (See the bottom of the post.)
If, however, I’m going to make the pizza now, after I flip the dough, I turn the burner off completely. Working as quickly as possible (this is why we have everything ready), spread the toppings over the dough. I’m using ricotta cheese with finely minced fresh basil and a garlic scape (it’s the last scape of the season which I froze!), sliced cherries, crumbled bleu cheese, shredded parmesan, some peas and rosemary. At the very last moment I remembered the salsa tartufata. So, I spread the ricotta mixture over the hot crust, plopped on some tartufata and swirled it around, then tossed on the peas, cherries, crumbled bleu cheese, fresh rosemary and parmesan. I turned the heat back on to high for about 1 minute, then lowered the heat to medium-low, set the timer for 1 1/2 minutes, popped a cover on and left it alone. I thought it needed about 1 additional minute, as this crust was a little thicker than usual. After that last lovely minute, I slid it onto my old stand-by pizza pan and voilá! It’s lunch. I love this pan; it has great memories for me. When I was in high school, you know back when Pluto was still a planet, calculators were new and expensive, and sun screen was unheard of…no, you slapped that baby oil on and fried in the sun… Well, I worked in a pizza joint for awhile and this pan, all 11 1/2-inches of it, was our large pizza. People drove out of their way to get pizza at Charlie’s. So that’s where I learned a little about pizza and I still love this pan. Thanks for allowing me this little meander down memory lane. It was a good stroll.
Then, she topped a couple of pieces with some of the lovely anchovies she had leftover from a Caesar salad. They are so good on pizza anyway and in this case, they played off the sweetness of the cherries. See it there, that salty, nutty morsel just across from the cherry?
Option 1: The conventional oven. Top the crust and pop it in a preheated oven for maybe 3-4 minutes. You want the cheese to melt and the crust to crisp up.
Option 2: Heat a cast iron griddle until it’s hot and place the already topped dough on the hot griddle, lower the heat and cover the pizza with a lid and cook for 1 1/2-2 minutes of until the bottom is crispy and the toppings are heated through and the cheese is melty.
Option 3: A toaster oven. Top the dough as desired; this time it was ricotta, peas, garlic, red onion and a drizzle of balsamic after it came out of the oven. I popped the whole thing into my handy-dandy toaster oven, push the “toast” button (I had to do it twice) and…wait for it…wait for it…LUNCH! There were actually two pizza’s. The second one had ricotta mixed with salsa tartufata, peas, red onions and when it came out of the oven, a drizzle of truffle oil. There are no pictures, because we snarfed it down too fast, so you’ll have to trust The Goddess on this one. Damn, I do so adore truffles.