Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Salami Pizza ... Sauce and Cheese Nirvana

While I was in Manila, I hit a wholesale club (one of my friends with us is a member). It was like being back in the States at Costco. In fact, I saw some Kirkland brand products. I suspect this place is owned by the huge corporate entity that is Costco.

I, of course, perused the dairy and meat aisles. Oh, what treasures they had. Meats of all kinds, sausages, hot dogs, sliced cooked sandwich meats, cheeses.

Yes, it was good.

I spied this package of mini-salami. A mere P177. It, like many foods now, spoke to me and said "I can survive the trip home". That package of mini-salami knew the magic words to open my wallet. It knew that I was concerned about even a few hours away from refigeration in the Philippine heat and humidity. It had eased my concerns and won my stomach ... err, heart.

So, I stood in line for 15 minutes and bought them.

Naturally, when I got home, things were busy. So, I put the package of salami goodness into my fridge and promised I wouldn't forget them. Yesterday, I was supposed to make something for Tuesdays with Dorie (I will today, really!) but I was dead. Just dead tired. Barely wanted to lift a TV remote from the comfort of my bed let alone actually cook something.

Then, while watching one of my favorite Jackie Chan movies, Drunken Master, there was a commercial for pizza. "Delivery!" I thought. Sounded good ... until I remembered that sounding good and tasting good were two different things sometimes.

Yet, I was still inspired. I wanted pizza now. I wanted pizza enough to ignore my lethargy and slink down the stairs to the kitchen. I took a block of mozzarella and handed it, along with a bowl and grater, to one of my nieces. She was happy to grate the cheese knowing that pizza was the ultimate reward (she's the one who giggles when she gets it).

Grating cheese avoided. Definite win there.

Onto the dough. I love a thin crust with some chewness. However, last time I made pizza my mom had requested a thicker crust. Thing is, you have to let a thicker crust rise again after you spread out the dough. Wasn't going to wait for that, I wanted pizza!

Mom still got her wish. Somehow the flames went out when I turned on the oven. So, when I went to put the pizzas in, no heat. The pizzas got a chance to rise while waiting for the oven to reach the blazing hot maximum temperature of our oven.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups / 420 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250 grams mozzarella cheese
  • 60 grams Parmesan cheese
  • 150 grams sliced salami
Procedure

I turned my oven onto the highest setting possible. That's 460F (238C). I'd do that even if it was 800F (425C). The coal-fired ovens in New York City's pizzerias are that hot. And they, I'm told, make great pizza.

For my own convenience, I got a relative to grate all the cheese. I would've used a food processor, but mine's dead, need to find another. I tossed the cheeses well so that I could just sprinkle both on at the same time. And, I successfully avoided eating too much of the yummy cheese mixture ... after all, need some on the pizza itself.

I put the flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, and olive oil into my mixer with the bread hook on. I started out on low. Once the ingredients were mixed together, I scraped down the sides and put the mixer on medium. I let it run for 15 minutes.

Once the dough has received a nice machine beating (sure is better than kneading by hand!), I took the dough out of the bowl, drizzled a little olive oil into the bowl, and then put the dough back in. I made sure that the dough was completely coated with the olive oil.

I put a towel on the bowel and walked away for an hour.

When I came back, the yeast had done there job. Big ball of dough. I took it out and cut it into two halves. I used my scale to be somewhat accurate about that.

I didn't feel like tossing the dough today. So, I just used a rolling pin and made a couple of rectangular pizzas. Those taste just as good.

Once rolled out and on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, I applied the sauce. This is the sauce that I made a while back. I'm so glad I made extra and froze it. So, so easy. Of course, I scooped half of the sauce onto each pizza. Then, using the back of the spoon, spread the sauce out from the middle in an outward spiral motion.

Since my cheese-grating niece didn't like the salami (more for me, hooray!), I made half a pizza with just cheese. I spread the salami evenly over the other one-and-a-half pizzas.

Once the uncooperative oven got up to about 425F (218C), I put in the pizzas. Didn't want to wait any longer!

Cooked until the cheese was melted well and the crust was slightly golden. About 6 minutes in this case. Short time, yes. But, first time making the thicker crust. Didn't want to ruin it.

Test Results

Primary Test Group: Marasa! Delicious! "I get all that? OK :)"

Unfortunately for the other groups, the pizza just didn't last long.

Conclusions

For mom's sake, I cooked it a short time. Next time, I'll cook it longer so that a nice crust will develop, even on the thicker version. Crust needs tooth. This pizza lacked that.

Pizza is always a winner!

2 comments:

Weyn Cueva said...

For three days in a row, we've made pizza in the kitchen and almost always got too excited to eat the crust didn't develop. :D
Pizza is good all the time!

James said...

Haha, yes, pizza is almost always good. I'm going to make more soon. First, need to replenish my sauce.