17 April 2014

Finnan Crispy Pizza! ~ and a lovely easy pizza dough recipe.

Last night's dinner was inspired by a joke my real man made.  I was pondering on making a fish pizza, thinking about using smoked haddock and he said …

I suppose it would be a finnan crispy!” ~ get it?

Well that made me determined to make one so that I could share this bon mot with the world. 



Firstly I don’t know if I've posted my simple pizza dough recipe before but either way, here it is now …

My Simple Pizza Dough – makes 2 x 30cm pizzas 

I say this recipe makes 2 x 30cm pizzas but that is just a guideline. The beauty of making your own dough is you can choose to have a crisp thin base (I roll mine so thin there are crunchy bubbles in the crust once cooked) a thicker more substantial base (for real men!) or even a deep dish pizza with a ridge around the edge to hold more filling. For us this recipe makes one thin and crispy about 10cm across and one enormous thicker based pizza. Neither of them are round! ***

225ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 pkt easy dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
approx 325g plain flour
scant ½ tsp salt
a little more olive oil
a handful of flour - wholemeal if possible

~   Stir together in a large bowl (or mixer bowl) the water and the sugar till the sugar has dissolved.
~   Sprinkle over the yeast and set aside in a draught free place for 10 minutes or so till it has started eating the sugar and become bubbly.
~   Stir (or slowly mix in with the mixer) the olive oil, salt and flour into the yeast mixture, to make a sticky but workable dough.
~   Add more flour if necessary until you have a soft dough then knead (or continue running the mixer) for a few minutes.
~   Lightly oil a fresh bowl, form the dough into a soft ball and put it into the greased bowl, turn the dough to coat with oil, cover loosely with a clean cloth or put a clean plastic bag over it and stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. This takes about an hour and you don’t have to sit with it, you can do what you like while it is rising.
~   Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7.
~   Prepare two baking sheets by sprinkling with wholemeal flour (or normal if you haven’t got any) and then shaking to coat evenly.
~   Knock the dough back and knead in the oil clinging to it.
~   Divide into two and roll or push into shape on the baking trays.
~   Top with whatever you have planned.
~   Bake at till crisp and golden and wonderful.

Finnan Crispy

I had a piece of cooked smoked haddock leftover from making kedgeree the day before and this is just a loose description of what I did because, of course, it was just for me (a bit too fancy for my darling – he had minced beef AND sausages on his) and I made it up as I went along, so …

~   Half a leek thinly sliced and cooked very gently in butter, covered by a butter wrapper and then a lid, till super tender.
~   Added about 60ml (13 days out of date but utterly perfectly OK) cream and a good grating of Gran Padano and simmer till thick.
~   Cooled this sauce.
~   Assembled my pizza and because I didn’t want to overcook the cooked fish I par-baked my base before adding the topping.
~   Spread the party cooked base with the cooled leek sauce, sprinkle with flaked leftover smoked haddock, sprinkled with freshly grated Gran Padano and finished baking.
~   Prettied it up with a bit of beetroot salad.
~   Took the above photo.
~   Poured a glass of white wine and had dinner.

Pizza, whether you make the base yourself or buy it in, is a great vehicle for all sorts of leftovers and a great opportunity to get creative. Here are some random pizzas I made in the past …


 Roasted Windfall, Chorizo and Cheddar Pizza


Blue Cheese & Grapes Pizza


Leftover cooked New Potato Pizza with Spring Onions


Ham and Pease Pud Pizza
  
My real man is a Geordie lad so ham and pease pud is a standard in our house – see here for how to make this easy, cheap and delicious staple.

So, as you can see,  a pizza doesn't have to have a tomato sauce spread on it, any appropriate goo will do! Nor is cheese de rigueur, I didn't use any with the pease pudding pizza. In short, any complementary collection of leftovers can be spread or scatted on a pizza base to make a delicious new meal, so go for it!


Furthermore ... this dough also makes a very acceptable bread. Having made myself a single pizza (real man not in the mood) I had half the dough left so I mixed in some leftover caramelised red onions, formed it into a rustic  loaf shape , allowed to rise again and baked at 400ºF/200ºC/180C fan/gas 6 till it was golden and sounded hollow if whopped on the bottom.



***

 “Never Trust a Round Pizza”
Todd English

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