It’s the time of year to start moving activities outdoors. Setting up my outdoor space reminds of the wonderful time I spent in Napa Valley. So naturally, I decided to relive my wonderful memories of the wine country by making a pizza with some favorite Napa ingredients: baby artichokes, dates and jalapeno peppers. The result is this zesty pizza , which balances both sweet and salty with a touch of heat. The artichokes definitely add to the taste of Spring. I’ve also added the recipe for Nancy Silverton’s pizza dough from “The Mozza Cookbook”. She worked on a recipe that works for home ovens and I find this is the recipe I use over and over again with great results. It was developed with bread baking technique’s developing a sponge to ferment before adding the remaining ingredients. The result is a delicious crispy crust.From by the bay wishing you zesty pizza food memories!
Date, Artichoke and Jalapeno Pizza
1 portion pizza dough
4 medjool dates
4 artichoke hearts, canned in water or freshly steamed
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces asiago cheese, in thin slices
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 portion fresh pizza dough
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Spray pizza pan with olive oil. Prepare toppings. Heat oil and saute onions until they start to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside. Slice jalapeno into thin rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Cut each artichoke in half. Pull dates apart into 3 pieces. Roll out pizza dough into a 17” round to fit pizza pan and transfer dough to pan. Layer pizza with asiago cheese, onions, artichokes, dates and jalapeno rounds. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let rest 20 minutes. Place pizza in oven and make pizza on center rack until the crust is crisp and brown on bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 10 minutes. Cut pizza into 8 slices.
Nancy Silverton’s Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes enough dough for 6 pizzas; each pizza serves 1 or for 2 large pizzas
22 ounces warm tap water (2 cups, 6 ounces)
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) compressed yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
26 ounces unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) dark rye flour or medium rye flour
1 1⁄2 tsp wheat germ
1 1⁄2 tsp barley malt or mild-flavored honey, such as clover or wildflower
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
Olive oil, grapeseed oil, or another neutral flavored oil, such as canola oil, for greasing the bowl
To make the sponge, put 15 ounces of the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add 13 ounces of the bread flour, the rye flour, and the wheat germ. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Wrap the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and tightly wrap the perimeter of the bowl with kitchen twine or another piece of plastic wrap to further seal the bowl. Set the dough aside at room temperature (ideally 68 to 70 degrees) for 1 1⁄2 hours.
Uncover the bowl and add the remaining 7 ounces of water, the remaining 13 ounces of bread flour, and the barley malt. Fit the mixer with a dough hook, place the bowl on the mixer stand, and mix the dough on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Note that the dough will not pull so much that it completely cleans the bowl, but if the dough is too sticky and is not pulling away from the sides at all, throw a small handful of flour into the bowl to make it less sticky. While the dough is mixing, lightly grease with olive oil a bowl large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size. Turn the dough out of the mixer into the oiled bowl. Wrap the bowl as before. Set the dough aside at room temperature for 45 minutes. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Acting as if the round has four sides, fold the edges of the dough toward the center. Turn the dough over and return it, folded side down, to the bowl. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and set it aside for 45 minutes.
Dust your work surface again lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Divide the dough into six equal segments, each weighing approximately 7 ounces. Gently tuck the edges of each round of dough under itself. Cover the dough rounds with a clean dishtowel and let them rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour your hands and use both hands to gather each round of dough into a taut ball. Dust a baking sheet generously with flour and place the dough rounds on the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with the dishtowel and set them again at room temperature for 1 hour to proof the dough. (Or leave the dough on the counter to proof instead.)
Excerpted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno. Copyright © 2011 by Nancy Silverton. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.