Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Potato Pizza with Lavender, Rosemary, and Lemon

My last trip back east took me to far western Massachusetts — too far west, alas, to grab a few slices from my beloved Antonio's Pizza in Amherst. My sainted younger sister came to the rescue, arriving at our family home with boxes of my favorite slices: chicken parm, tortellini, potato and more.

I fell in love with potato pizza at Antonio's, which conveniently opened my freshman year of college. Antonio's has since expanded to a few locations, but I still live a 30-hour drive from the closest one.

Their potato pizza is so good, I've been reluctant to try to replicate it. Then I  came across Jim Lahey's much-publicized potato pizza and decided it was time to give it a shot.

His version is very simple: potatoes, rosemary, onion. I dressed it up with lavender, lemon zest, and a bit of cheddar-Gruyere cheese, popped it in the oven, and then thoroughly embarrassed myself in front of my dinner guest because I couldn't stop shoveling pieces into my face.

Lahey — who shot to fame spreading the gospel of no-knead bread — is back in food blog headlines with his latest cookbook, My Pizza. I had mixed results with his bread recipe, but this pizza dough... wow. I'm sold. It makes a delightfully crispy crust and it's very easy to work with. (Check out this video for tips on shaping each pie.)

You mix up the ingredients with a spoon, using just a smidgen of yeast, and let it sit for 18 hours. And that's pretty much it.

I mix mine before going to bed early in the week, and the next day after school I divide it into four pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap, and stash them in the refrigerator, ready to go for make-your-own pizza Friday nights.

Potato pizza is delicious straight from the oven or at room temperature. Purple potatoes would make this a jaw-dropping spectacle, but I haven't tried it yet. (I will soon!)

One last tip: If you make this for kids, do not call it a pizza. If you do, they absolutely will not eat it because it does not have red sauce and it isn't covered in oozing cheese. Call it a potato chip tart.

Potato Pizza with Lavender, Rosemary, and Lemon

Adapted from Jim Lahey. Be sure use culinary lavender that hasn't been sprayed with pesticides. If you can't find trustworthy lavender but do live near Trader Joe's, try using their Flower Pepper, with rose, lavender, and calendula in the mix. It's a great finishing touch for simply prepared veggies, too.  I'm including a link to the dough recipe; it's widely published online, but I don't want to lift it entirely from his book without explicit permission. Finally, measurements are loose here: I just grab a few sprigs of herbs, chop, and sprinkle until it smells right. Trust your instincts.

2-3 potatoes (waxy potatoes work well, Lahey calls for Yukon Golds)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
cheddar and/or Gruyere, crumbled (I use Trader Joe's Cheddar-Gruyere Mélange), to taste
zest from 1 lemon
fresh rosemary, chopped, to taste
fresh lavender, chopped to taste
salt and pepper to taste
half of Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough

Slice potatoes thinly, using a mandoline or a knife. Fill a bowl with cold water, stir in a few shakes of salt, and add the potato slices. Let them soak at least half an hour, or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. If you’re using a pizza stone, be sure to put it in the oven as it warms up.

Drain potatoes and pat dry with kitchen towel. Combine potatoes and onion in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add a few grinds of pepper, and stir to combine.

Prep your pizza dough: You can lay it out on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel or a greased cookie sheet. Lay out potato slices atop the dough so that they overlap slightly. Scoop up any leftover onion from the bowl and sprinkle it over the potato slices. Add cheese, then sprinkle rosemary, lavender, and lemon zest. Season the pizza with a bit of salt, if desired, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Bake on a lower rack in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust and potato slices are golden brown and you can’t possibly wait any longer. Give it a minute or two out of the oven, then slice and serve!

1 comment:

Anna said...

I was lucky to taste this and could eat all by myself. Wonderful!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...