FoodDog

The Institute of FoodDog Arts is a not-for-profit educational co-op, focussing on the betterment of world food supplies through collective cooking knowledge. An experiment in open-source cooking, we're harnessing the power of the Superhighway for the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

1-800-MARGHERITA

The Margherita pizza is unlike any pizza I’d ever had until maybe 3 months ago, when I made my first. The pizza has no sauce; rather, it has small chunks of tomato, slices of mozzarella cheese, and leaves of fresh basil on a traditional thinish-crust pizza crust, drizzled in olive oil. You cook it as hot as you can (500 in my oven; my recipe actually calls for 550) for about 10 minutes—if your crust is thin enough, it’s almost like a cracker.

The pizza has a story—in 1889, Queen Margherita visited Naples, and a bread maker added the Italian colors to flatbread to welcome her. So my newly-invented Margherita pizza loses its symbolism, but gains a cool look and a cooler flavor.

Make your favorite crust—the technical Neapolitan pizza dough is just water (1½ cups), yeast (1 teaspoon), flour (about 4 cups), and salt (1 tablespoon). Knead it for at least half an hour (machines are permitted for kneading) and let it rise for 4 hours. Split it into 4 pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for another 2 or 4 hours. Its slow rise create wonderful flavors. Jamie and I often prefer a faster-rising dough, though, that includes olive oil and sugar, because it is slightly sweeter.

For tonight’s Margherita pizza, I used both a normal tomato and colorful heirloom tomatoes—I had yellow, purple, and green available. My basil was a stronger purple basil, and, because I was messing with the symbolic colors anyway, I chose a slightly-browned smoked mozzarella. Cook it on a pizza stone for about 10 minutes, then enjoy!

2 Comments:

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Becky said...

sounds great! I'm excited to try it. Question though, do you heat the pizza stone in the oven first and put the pizza on using a pizza peel? For how long do you heat the stone?

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Sam B. said...

Becky,
I heat up the pizza stone for up to 45 minutes before I put the pizza on (I always mean to do it for like 30, but I'm always a little behind--45 minutes is a good amount of time). I generously cover the peel with cornmeal (which both lets the dough slide and adds a nice little flavor to the crust). (Also, if you need a peel, you can get them for $15 here at Amazon.com.

About the title (just for kicks): on the subways, 1-800-MARGARITA is a personal injury law firm number that specializes in injured Spanish-speakers. Where the "Margarita" comes from, I don't know--either that's the receptionist's name or it's the firm's drink of choice.

 

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