Thursday, November 25, 2010

Garlic Smelt, Fresh Basil, Mushroom Pizza

This is a great mini pizza!  If you have dough making experience, this recipe will be easy. 
     Pizza Dough Recipe:  Add some dry or fresh yeast (one TBS of fresh or three tsp of dry) to 16 oz of luke warm water in a mixing bowl.  Set the bowl in a warm place like on top of a warm oven. 
    When the yeast activates, add a couple teaspoons of sugar to proof the yeast. 
    Add some flour, 3 tsp of sea salt, 2 tsp of olive oil and mix the loose dough starter with a spoon till smooth. 
    Keep adding a little bit of flour at a time while stirring till a loose dough is formed. 
    Add a little more flour at a time while mixing with your fingers till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  You will feel when the dough is starting to get elastic.  It will stick to your hands when made correctly but that will change after rising twice. 
    Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel and set it on top of an oven with another towel under the bowl to protect it from too much heat. 
    When the dough rises more than double, beat down the dough with your knuckles and gather the dough like a ball in the bowl. 
    Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again. 
    When it rises the second time, beat the dough down and knead firmly with your hands for a minute. 
    Place the dough on a floured counter top and roll the dough into a large ball shape.  Cut the dough ball in half for two full size pizzas or in four portions for mini pizzas. 
    Roll and tuck the dough portions with with your fingers to make smooth dough balls.  You can cover and refrigerate each dough portion for a few days or freeze the dough for later use too. 
    Pizza Crust:  Flour a counter top and pat the dough out by hand with your finger tips till it becomes a flat pizza shape.  You can spin and toss the dough with your knuckles in the air too. 
    Place the dough on a lightly oiled pizza pan. 
    Brush the pizza dough with olive oil.
    Bake the pizza crust in a 450 degree oven.  Bake till the dough partially so it is white, firm and risen. (The pizza is only one third cooked at this point.) 
    Pizza Sauce Recipe:  Place some crushed canned Italian tomatoes in a mixing bowl. 
    Add a generous splash of olive oil.
    Add a little bit of minced garlic.
    Add a few pinches each of oregano leaf, sea salt and black pepper. 
    Stir the pizza sauce ingredients together.  (Do not heat or cook a pizza sauce!  Classic pizza sauce is a cold mixture.) 
    Spoon some sauce on the middle of the partially baked pizza crust and spread the sauce outwards leaving a thin crusty bare edge. 
    Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on the sauce and return the pizza crust to the oven.  Bake till the crust is half cooked (Still in the white stage). 
    Garlic Smelts:  Saute some smelts with olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. 
    Add a generous amount of minced garlic. 
    Season the smelts with sea salt and white pepper.
    Saute till the smelts are fully cooked and the garlic is golden brown colored. 
    Set the smelts aside. 
    Pizza:  Sprinkle a light amount of grated mozzarella, asiago, provolone and romano cheese mix on the pizza. 
    Place some thin sliced mushrooms on the pizza. 
    Place whole fresh basil leaves on the pizza. 
    Arrange the smelts like a star burst pattern from the center of the pizza. 
    Star burst some pimiento strips from the center of the pizza too. 
    Drizzle a little bit of virgin olive oil over the pizza. 
    Give the pizza another very light sprinkle of cheese mix.
    Return the pizza to the oven to finish baking. 
    The pizza is done when the crust is golden and the cheese is just starting to turn golden brown.  (Burnt cheese pizza is no good!) 
    Remove the pizza from the oven and cut it into four pieces on a cutting board, then slide the sliced pizza onto a plate. 
    This simple pizza can be made in a few hours.  If you make the dough ahead of time, it only takes 25 minutes to make this pizza.  You need a stone slab oven to cook pizza in one or two steps.  The multi step way of baking pizza in this recipe is meant for conventional ovens.  The extra steps in baking ensure that the crust is not soggy but crusty.  I like gourmet pizza!  Yum!  ...   Shawna

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