Miami should be the easiest place in the country to avoid gaining the 5 pounds the average American puts on during the prolonged holiday season. As frost descends on northern fields and produce markets fill with tubers, South Florida’s growing season begins (more on this soon).
But television ads and weather reports blow high definition snow into the living room; department store windows display faux hearths and cashmere gifts; and every food magazine arrives replete with sublimely photographed holiday recipes. So in the spirit of seasonal camaraderie, I’ve gone on a comfort food cooking binge. This weekend’s experiment was a duo of pizzas.
The craving came after nightfall-way to late to start playing with yeast, so I cheated and purchased a ball of dough from our neighborhood pizzeria. Unlike a supermarket crust, I know that the product I’m getting has the same simple ingredients I would use at home (and doesn’t require hauling out and cleaning the stand mixer). Using ingredients I had on hand, I came up with two delicious pizzas: one of the familiar tomato sauce and mozzarella variety, the other similar to a savory tart or flatbread.
[thin crust, tomato sauce, hand grated mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, pepperoni, and garden basil]
We topped this with huile picante (a chili and spice oil ubiquitous at pizzerias in France and Northern Italy) I had picked up at a market in Avignon. I was sure this was the winning pizza until I tried the second one.
[very thin crust with raised edges, fig preserves, caramelized onions, fleur de sel; topped with prosciutto and manchego after baking]
I began caramelizing onions with a niçoise pissaladiere in mind. But then I thought of the lonely block of manchego in the fridge and this lovely tart followed. This would be perfect cut into squares as an appetizer, or served in a breadbasket with dinner (minus the ham and cheese). The crust melded with the fig and onions in the oven, and the result was paper thin, sweet, and addictive.
I baked both pizzas on an oiled cookie sheet at 500 for approximately 10 minutes.