Monday, January 10, 2011

Potato, Spinach, and Blue Cheese 'Za

Last night I was on call for work, so I went to bed late. The Hubbs had already been in bed for a couple of hours, and when I snuck in he mumbled "Hey baby. I owe you two potatoes."

I said, "You owe me two potatoes?"


"Because you ate them?"

"No." (long pause) "you know what I mean."

"Um, no, I do not." Then I laughed so hard I rocked the bed and disturbed his beauty rest, and he angrily turned away and snubbed me for the rest of the night. This morning, obviously, he did not remember any of it, save for vaguely remembering me laughing. Which I did every time I thought about it, all cold and alone stranded on my side of the bed.

Today I made potato and blue cheese pizza, a copy of a pizza for which we paid too much at a local organic pizza joint. I used two potatoes, so now he owes me four...

The crust is Peter Reinhart's from his Bread Baker's Apprentice, a new one for us as we usually use Ciril's Baking Artisan Bread. While Ciril's pizza dough is thick and chewy and flavorful, it usually takes too long to bake, even on a pizza stone with the oven cranked, so you end up with the toppings making the crust soggy on top, or the cornmeal on the bottom burns against the stone and leaves char on the underside. BBA, by contrast, makes a very thin dough, almost runny like a foccacia dough. Instead of tossing it, The Hubbs merely picked it up and it drooped paper-thin. It cooked in 5 minutes, yielding a thin, crispy crust that held its shape and didn't burn. I like my crust a little cheweyer, so The Hubbs is going to see if he can find a middle ground by adding more kneading steps to the BBA crust.

I made two pizzas, pre-boiling the potatoes for one and not for the other to see if it was necessary (it wasn't), and layering on Parmesan, mozzarella, and blue cheese. I was out of garlic oil so I made some, boiling garlic and fresh Thyme in oil and butter to mimic my favorite pizza chain's garlic-butter crust. I was going to give you a pretty picture of two slices all plated with a nice salad...but we gobbled this standing over the counter, and it never made it to actual plates.

Potato, Spinach, and Blue Cheese Pizza
(makes 2 12-inch pizzas)

pizza crust to make 2 pizzas (BBA crust makes 6 6-oz dough balls: we used two)
2 T Olive Oil
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh Thyme
2 medium redskin potatoes
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1.5 oz blue cheese
1.5 oz parmesean
3 oz mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
cornmeal or semolina flour

Place pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat it to as hot as it will go, for at least 45 minutes to let your stone heat through.
Roughly chop garlic and thyme. Place in a saute pan with oil and butter and simmer on low until garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let cool.
Slice potatoes very thinly with mandolin or food processor slicer. Cover a pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan with cornmeal or semolina flour. Stretch one of your doughs to a 12-inch circle and place it on the peel. Brush on garlicky oil.
Grate cheeses and toss together. Divide in half and set one half aside. Sprinkle 1T cheese onto the crust, then layer, 1/2 of the spinach, an additional 1T cheese, 1/2 of the potato slices, and the rest of the cheese. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
Using the peel, shake crust onto the pizza stone. Bake until golden and cheese is melty, then remove and repeat with the other dough ball and the rest of the toppings. Remember to use a light hand with toppings, as layering on more stuff can make your pizza soupy or fall apart.

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