Frying Pan Pizza
Frying Pan Pizza Recipe
NEAPOLITAN PIZZA DOUGH
(Each base is technically for one, but it’s great sharing food)
- 1kg ‘00’ flour with a high gluten content
- 2g fresh baker’s yeast
- 600ml cold water
- 30g table salt
- Tip the flour onto your work service and make a well in the centre. Dissolve your yeast in the water and pour into the middle of the well a little at a time whilst using your hands to bring the walls of the flour in so that the water begins to thicken. Once you’ve reached the consistency of custard, add the salt and bring in the rest of the flour until it comes together as a dough. Knead for 10–15 minutes.
- Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes before kneading again quickly for 10 seconds (this helps to develop the flavour and the gluten).
- Divide the dough into 200g balls and leave to rest overnight or for at least 8 hours (24 hours is optimal, 48 hours maximum) in a sealed container or a deep baking dish sprinkled with flour and covered in cling film. Remember to leave space for each of your dough balls because, as the gluten relaxes, they will spread out to take up twice the diameter that they do initially.
MAKING A PIZZA BASE
1. Scrape a dough ball out of its container using a spatula and as much flour as you need to ensure it doesn’t stick. The rounder the dough ball comes out, the rounder the final pizza base.
2. Put the dough ball onto a well-floured surface (honestly, if you are going to get serious about pizza making, get used to having flour play a large part in your life).
3. Using your fingertips, press out the dough ball firmly, starting at the centre and working out to the edge. Ensure you leave a centimetre around the rim of the pizza untouched.
4. Turn the dough ball over and repeat the pressing out process on the other side.
5. Using the palm of your hand, do one firm push in the centre of the dough ball to ensure the thickness of the base is consistent (not counting the raised edges).
6. Take the newly flattened dough ball on the back of your hands, ensuring the weight is on your knuckles and that your fingertips and nails are not going to poke a hole in the dough.
7. Using the back of your hands, stretch the dough out as far as you can without tearing it (now there’s a challenge). Turn the dough through 90 degrees and repeat this stretching. Do this a few times.
8. You should now have a disc of dough around 10 inches in diameter, consistently thin but with a slightly thicker rim. We are ready to cook.
COOKING NEAPOLITAN PIZZA (THE MARGHERITA)
The fact of the matter is that the conventional oven you find at home will never be able to make a great Neapolitan pizza, even if the best pizza chef in the world was in charge of it. Most domestic ovens will only reach 250.C tops, and this is nowhere near the 500.C you would find in a domed pizza oven. Luckily, there is a simple technique to try at home that uses equipment you will definitely have, unless you are a student. This method recreates the intense heat of a domed pizza oven and will put your conventional oven efforts to shame. The key thing to remember is the ‘less is more’ mantra of any Neapolitan pizzeria – too much cheese will result in a soggy, greasy mess.
Makes 8 x 10 inch pizzas
- 4 x balls of Neapolitan Pizza Dough
- (see recipe on page 80)
- 1 tin of San Marzano (or any good-quality
- Italian) tomatoes
- A good pinch of sea salt
- Grated Parmesan
- A handful of basil leaves
- 150g fior di latte cheese (cow’s milk
- mozzarella), torn into pieces no bigger
- than a 50 pence coin
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Take the dough balls and press them out flat to make four 10 inch pizza bases using the tips of your fingers.
- To make the tomato sauce, first crush the tomatoes by hand. This stops the seeds being whizzed up by the blender, which makes the sauce bitter. Add a pinch of salt, then blitz with a hand blender until you have a tomato sauce with a slightly rough texture.
- Preheat the grill to its absolute highest setting.
- Lay a pizza base flat in a dry frying pan (preferably non-stick) that has been on a high heat and is screaming hot.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce with a ladle across the base, leaving a couple of centimetres round the edge for the crust. Add a pinch of Parmesan, basil leaves and a quarter of the mozzarella, in that order. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Once the base of the pizza has browned (about 1–2 minutes), take the frying pan and place it on the highest shelf, under the grill.
- Once the crust has taken on some colour (again about 1–2 minutes), the pizza is ready to go. Eat it fast (contrary to popular belief, pizza is not better cold the morning after!).
- Start making the next one…