Monday, March 11, 2013

Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of pizza recipes that call for cooking the pizza in a cast iron skillet.  I'm always intrigued by anything pizza related, so I thought I would give it a try.  This technique gives your pizza a more wood-fired taste: the bottom gets crispy, the cheese burns perfectly, and the inside of the crust stays soft.  What they don't tell you is that this is really hard to do.  This pizza here was my third attempt.

So here is how it works.  You need to have all of  your ingredients made and on hand (dough, sauce, cheese, toppings).  Place your cast iron skillet on the stove and turn the eye up high.  The skillet needs to heat for ten minutes.  It may begin to smoke, just turn the heat down a little.  I covered my smoke detector, so that it wouldn't start beeping.  IF YOU DO THIS DON'T FORGET TO UNCOVER IT!  Safety first, you know.  Anyway, once the skillet is hot, turn off the eye and quickly (I'm talking lighting fast) build the pizza in the skillet.  Now, most recipes call for you to make the pizza on a floured surface and then slide it into the skillet, but this doesn't work.  The uncooked dough doesn't want to slide.  It wants to flop over onto itself and make a mess.  So I would recommend assembling the pizza in the skillet, in less than a minute if possible.  BE CAREFUL!  The skillet is very hot.  Now quickly slide your pizza into your broiler.  Check the pizza every minute or so, it won't take long.  Five minutes tops.  Pull it out when the crust is brown and the cheese gets a bit burnt.  Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes and then you can take it out of the skillet with a spatula.

Now, to be sure, this method is a little involved.  Everything needs to be done very quickly, and there is the possibility that you will burn yourself on the hot skillet.  I still haven't made up my mind if this is worth it or not.  The pizza is delicious.  But it's not that much more delicious than just cooking it on a pan.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Now for the toppings.  For my third attempt at making a pizza in a cast iron skillet, I made a spinach, mushroom and black olive pizza, with an alfredo base, topped with fresh mozzarella.  A bit decadent, I know, but sometimes you need to spoil yourself.  The spinach I just sautéed with a little garlic.  The mushrooms I sautéed in butter and the black olives just came out of a can.  To make the alfredo sauce, take 1 tablespoon butter, one tablespoon flour, and 2 cloves minced garlic and heat in a sauce pan.  Mix together as the butter melts.  Then slowly add about 1 cup milk.  Stir continuously.  The sauce should thicken up, but if it doesn't, add a little more flour.  Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, a little nutmeg, and rosemary.

The dough is, of course, my handy dandy pizza dough.  I tried a new dough at first, for some dumb reason, and was of course disappointed.  Jamie Oliver's Pizza Dough recipe is the best.

If you try this technique let me know what you think.  Worth the effort?

1 comment:

  1. That looks so GOOD! I've seen this a lot lately too and want to try it.