hot summer night.


It was a hot summer night indeed and no this isn't another Meat Loaf post. By the time Le Men left last night I'd figured out one definite way to do at least one variation on a great two-ply lavash "pizza" (two-ply meaning that it's a lavash that could be carefully opened and stuffed if you so desired, but we do not so desire). I'm documenting the technique here a bit more obsessively than usual because I didn't get it right until pizzas number four and five last night and I know that in a week or two I'll never remember what I did.

Here it is: for the marinara version, use a preheated broiler, a rack in the middle of the oven; all the toppings on at the beginning, the toppings in this case being a very light drizzle of olive oil focusing on the edges not the center, one ball of 49-cent mozzarella torn and distributed evenly, really no more than 6 tbsp of good thick homemade marinara sauce distributed evenly, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a dusting of pul biber. Possibly a sprinkletje of parmesan or pecorino or grana padano if you're a cheap bastard like me.

Put your lavash on a pizza pan. Broil for 4 minutes; observe; broil for another 2-4 minutes or until your edges reach maximum tolerable blacknuss and your mozzarella has some color. This version can't be finished with another drizzle of olive oil or everything gets too wet, but non-marinara versions certainly can and should be. Throw a quick pinch of salt at it and start biting.

Or, the new and improved method I think: a preheated broiler, rack in the middle of the oven. Brush your lavash everywhere with good olive oil. Put your hard grated cheeses on there and some black pepper. Throw it in the oven for 2 minutes. Take it out, put your soft cheeses and other toppings on there (unless they're herbs then save them for last), and put it in for another 4 minutes. Have a peek at it, it could be ok here, or maybe it can go another minute from here, 2 at most. Take it out, throw on the herbs. So 6-8 minutes total. OK, back to the original post. 

With the broil method, things happen fast: I literally assembled and cooked 3 pizzas in 30 minutes (I mean yes, my more complicated toppings were prepared beforehand but cheeses were grated and torn "to order"). Oh and your toppings need to be at least room temperature if not warmer b/c everything's only in the oven for 6-8 minutes.

The versions I did last night:

1) The above, what I would call pizza marinara instead of margherita because the tomato sauce is slow-cooked and garlicky, I always thought a pizza margherita used pretty fresh tomatoes. I think it's an American thing. Not motivated to research atm.

2) Pizza ai funghi with garlic, rosemary, taleggio, grana padano. Might be helpful to freeze the taleggio first for easier grating. This was maybe my favorite of the night, though the taleggio could be too strong for some tastes. Tonight since we didn't have any more taleggio we did a version with gruyere, mozzarella and pecorino that was totally super.

3) That kale + artichoke + lemon + pesto + mozzarella thing. I liked it, but yeah somehow it's not quite right, it distractingly doesn't taste like pizza, too tart maybe.

4) Caramelized onion, caramelized endive, roasted figs in balsamic with shallots, gorgonzola, mozzarella. This was the most luxe idea of the night, almost a dessert pizza and really good. Not totally sure it needs the mozzarella.

5) I didn't really do more than taste the other pizzas last night due to time constraints, so I made myself another #1 while I cleaned the kitchen.

A note on cheapness: this was a pretty inexpensive way to feed a small group at a leisurely pace, but only because the Dirk has a decent mozzarella for 49 cents apiece, 1 ball per pizza. I was prepared to make like 8 with mozz, so I spent 4 bucks. Tomatoes, 4 cans: 1.60. Onions: 2 bucks. Figs: on sale for 6 for a euro. Endive also on sale 8 for a euro. The "gorgonzola" was actually Danish blue, shhh don't tell, 1 euro. Grana padano: 2 euro. Taleggio: 2.50. Aritchokes, 1 can: 1.79. Lavash: 50 cents for 6 of them. So less than 20 euroskis in totale for something like 12 "pizzas", I'd figure on two per person if that's all you're eating.


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