Written Recipes
Andy's Potato Pizza
Brad English

I got an email from a Pizza Quest member recently asking about pizza stones and "00" flours.  We chatted back and forth and he has enthusiastically shared one of his family's favorite pizza recipes.  It's the pizza he starts every pizza making session with.  From what he says, if he doesn't get it right "The Family" let's him know.

I'm really excited to try this pizza.  When Andy described his crust, I remembered a place my friend Holly Subhan took me to, while I was visiting her in New Jersey last year.  If you remember, she is the one who also introduced me to Mossuto's where we found the Fat Lip Pizza. *Link She's batting a thousand.  The pressure is mounting!

There's always a debate when I'm around regarding what the best pizza place is.  She had been dying to take me to this Jersey Shore favorite called Pete and Elda's in Neptune, NJ for some time.  They make a crust very similar to what Andy describes below.  It's a very thin cracker like crust.  It is light, crisp, and doesn't fill you up.  This is really, I believe, the quality that Holly loves about the pizza!   I also think she loves the atmosphere of the place.  The main part of the pizzeria is a huge winding bar that wanders through the large dining room. I can see that, even without a good pizza, this is a place I would like to hang out.  The people are friendly and, as it turns out the pizza is quite good!  I let her order her favorite the black olive and hot pepper pizza and we enjoyed a few beers and conversation with some of the locals.  If you are ever in the area I recommend you check this place out.

Now onto the Andy's Potato Pizza...I can't wait to try it!

 

I asked Andy to give me a brief introduction to his obvious pizza obsession.  He said it all started in 1983 when he was helping a friend make some wine.  As the morning wore on, his friend said, "This is taking longer than we thought so you'll have to stay for lunch, I'm making pizza".  He remembers panicking, looking at the windows for a way out of the basement!  The idea of a homemade pizza had him looking for excuses to escape.  They made the pizza on unglazed quarry tiles in a hot oven and, at the moment he took a bite, he was hooked.  His friend referenced Ada Boni's book, Italian Regional Cooking, which now gave him some great recipes to work with as he began feeding his new obsession.  He said that things remained essentially the same till 2003, when "I discovered Peter Reinhart's book, American Pie.  This was an unbelievable source of information and inspiration.  Now the knowledge base has expanded again with Pizza Quest, all limits have been removed."

How great is that?!  I have a similar story and the birth of Pizza Quest does too.  I too found Peter's book American Pie and then contacted him and a while later Pizza Quest was born.

Here is his recipe for Pizza Romana or, as his family

 
The Veggie Omelette Pizza
Brad English

Here we are at the end of my "in depth" study of eggs and pizza -- a 3 pizza egg-sperimentation.  This will surely not be the last pizza I make with eggs as there are an infinite number of possibilities to explore using this ingredient on pizza.  The immediate connection is breakfast, which pizza fits right into, performing as the toast that accompanies any good breakfast -- helping to serve a delicious egg sandwich of sorts.  Eggs can fit anywhere on a menu.  They are delicious with any meal because they bring such a unique texture into the experience of eating.  Eggs take on accompanying flavors that are more powerful, or distinct and mellow them, or blend them with each other creating a new flavor and texture.

I was recently sent to a sushi restaurant called Sakagura in New York City by a friend of mine I call "The Foodie of all Foodies " and came across a cold soup called Onsen Tamago.  This was a new experience for me, playing with my concept of flavors, textures and temperature!  Onsen Tomago is a cold soup with soft boiled egg, sea urchin roe and salmon roe.  If you're squeamish, this soup is not for you!  It was one of the more unique dishes I have ever had.  I am a huge fan of sea urchin, though, so I was down with it.  Many people can't get past the texture of this, but the flavor is so delicious and balanced that I feel sorry for those who can't get past the soft, cool pudding-like texture.  The soup base was salty and delicious.  The soft boiled egg fascinated me beyond the silky texture, but the fact that it was so softly boiled and then cooled and perfectly extracted from the shell into the soup.  When I ate the soup, the egg yolk broke and became not only another part of the texture of the soup, but also a new flavor as it mixed with the stock and ingredients.  This cool creamy soup was accented by the delicious fresh uni (sea urchin) and then I came across the cool little jelly pops of the salmon row.  It was really a unique eye opening dish.

Although I've taken a side trip here, my point is that anything you like can be enhanced with eggs. They have a uniqueness to them that isn't shared by many foods.  They transform so much from their natural state to a finished product, and can be served in so many stages along the way in their cooking process.  I started my pizza recipe eggs-ploration with a nod to the classic American breakfast standard of bacon and eggs.  That one is simple.  It's everything you like about that breakfast and has so many of the elements of a so many pizzas we all eat on a regular basis.  My next eggs-ecution was about the jalapeño and egg combination.  Again, this is my breakfast of champions.  My third in this series is about yet another standard variety of breakfast fare:  The Veggie Omlette.

I hope you enjoy any or all of these, and certainly use them just as starting points and come up with your own favorites.

 

The Veggie Omelette Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

-I used my favorite Central Milling Germania Flour based Signature Bruery Pizza Dough but use your own favorite dough recipe

Peter's Herb Oil

Partially sautéed thinly sliced vegetables:  Zuccini, Red Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms and Jalapeños

-I sautéed the veggies to get them started cooking before going onto the pizza.  Season with a little salt and pepper and sauté until just cooked - allowing room for them to finish cooking on the pizza, but getting out much of the moisture so they don't soak your pizza.

Grated Mozzerella

Chunks of Bel Gioioso's Italico Cheese

2 Eggs

Canned Chopped Green Chiles to top the baked pizza

 

The Build:

Spread the dough on a well floured peel.

Sprinkle a little of the Herb Oil on the dough.

Add the grated Mozz and pinch off chunks of the Italico Cheese.  I didn't want this to be all about the cheese, so I used both sparingly.

Add the sautéed veggies.

I wanted to make sure that I got runny, sunny side up eggs on this pizza, so, I decided to set this pizza in the oven and pre-bake it for a couple of minutes and then add the egg and put it back in to finish.

 

The Bake:

Bake in your oven for approximately 2-3 minutes until it sets up so that you can pull it out without it falling apart.

*Make sure you pre-heat the oven for at least an hour to get your pizza stone up to temperature.  I pre-heat at 550 degrees and then turn it to Convection Bake before loading my first pizza, which lowers the temp to 525 degrees.

Pull the pizza out and crack two fresh eggs over the top.

Back into the oven.  Bake until the eggs and crust and all the ingredients are just right.  This should be about 4-5 minutes more.  For egg pizzas, base the doneness on the eggs.  If you want the crust done more, you may have to sacrifice that to make sure you don't overcook your eggs.  I have played with this and as you can see from my pictures, this pre-bake and finishing bake seems to work well.  Each oven will vary, so don't be surprised if you have to figure out your own timing.

The eggs came out great on this one.  You can see the crust has some charring and darkness to the edges and the toppings got a little brown on the edges as well.  The egg is perfectly cooked!  The yolk is soft and ready to be spread across the pizza and become part of the overall sauce.  You can probably pull the pizza out a little early, because the egg will continue to cook after it's out of the oven.  (*See my Bacon and Eggs Pizza!)

Carefully spread the yolk around trying not to move all the ingredients away from the center as you do.  You'll find that you can move things back and forth once you break the yolk and start spreading it out so that you keep the ingredients balanced for each bite.

Finally, top the finished pizza with the chopped green chills, or your favorite salsa.

Cut and serve!

 

 

 

 

 
Jalapeño & Sunny Eggs Pizza
Brad English

Eggs-perimentation - Numero Dos:

I love Eggs on a pizza.  They are a perfect topping being both a topping and possibly becoming part of the sauce of the pizza.  If you time it right, you can get the egg to cook to that perfect Sunny Side Up - runny deliciousness.  After the pizza comes out, you simply take a fork and knife, or a spoon and break the yolk and spread it around the pizza.  The egg is now playing two roles, both of which work perfectly on a pizza. But I've already told you this the last time I posted, and then Peter reiterated it in his recent blog about Pure Pizza in Charlotte.

So this is the second pizza in my latest little pizza experimentation here at Casa Ingles (as we affectionately call it)!  The fun thing about making pizza, as I've written before, is that there is a lot of opportunity for creativity.  Unlike when cooking other things, you get to try a number versions every time you make pizza.  They bake quickly and you are generally making at least 4 different pizzas during a meal.  It would get costly if you cooked up 4 large steaks every time you had that as a main dish, using seasonings and different cooking techniques.  I suppose you could cut a steak into smaller portions and do that, but that has it's own set of downfalls.  My point (and I do have one) is that pizza is a naturally interactive food during planning, prep, and eating.

You can lay out a plan and easily find a new path to the perfect pizza that you are hoping to make. I often only plan out a couple of the pizzas I'm going to make and then let the others come out of something I see while I'm shopping, or something that may be in the house at the time.  It's those found ingredients that sometimes take a pizza to the next level.  This pizza came out of the idea of using Jalapeños.  I am fascinated with the idea of pre-cooking them, which knocks out some of the heat and leaves you with a bold flavorful ingredient with enough spice to make them stand out, but not too much for those who can't take a lot of heat.

 

Jalapeño & Sunny-Eggs Pizza de Casa Ingles

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

-I used my favorite Central Milling Germania Flour, Signature Bruery Pizza Dough but you can use your own favorite dough

Peter's Herb Oil

Partially baked thinly sliced potato

Sautéed Mushrooms, Zucchini, and Jalapeños

-I sautéed these to get them started cooking before going onto the pizza.  Season with a little salt and pepper and sauté until just cooked - allowing room for them to finish cooking on the pizza.

Bel Gioioso Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese (or other blue cheese)

2 Eggs

Chopped Scallions

Fresh Rosemary Needles

Grated Parmesan

 

The Build:

Spread the dough on a well floured peel.

Sprinkle a little of the Herb Oil on the dough.

Add the potatoes, zucchini and mushrooms.

Break off chunks of the creamy gorgonzola cheese.  Alternatively, you could use another soft cheese, like a brie mixed with a little blue cheese.  I didn't use much cheese here.  First of all this cheese is very flavorful and I didn't want it to take over.  Second, I wanted the sautéed vegetables and the egg to play a bigger role.

I wanted to make sure that I achieved runny sunny-side Up eggs on this pizza.  So, I decided to set this pizza in the oven and bake it for a couple of minutes and then add the egg.

 

The Bake:

Bake in your oven for approximately 2-3 minutes.

*Make sure you pre-heat the oven for at least an hour to get your pizza stone up to temperature.  I pre-heat at 550 degrees and then turn it to Convection Bake before loading my first pizza, which lowers the temp to 525 degrees.

Pull the pizza out and crack two fresh eggs over the top.

 

Add the sautéed jalapeños.

Place it back into the oven.  Bake until the eggs and crust and all the ingredients are just right.  This should be about 4-5 minutes.  For this pizza, base the doneness on the eggs.

The eggs came out perfect on this one.  You can see that my crust has some charring and darkness to the edges and the toppings got a little brown on the edges as well.  The egg is perfectly cooked!  The yolk is soft and ready to be spread across the pizza and become part of the overall sauce.

 

 

Carefully spread the yolk around trying not to move all the ingredients away from the center as you do.  You'll find that you can move things back and forth once you break the yolk and start spreading it out so that you keep the ingredients balanced for each bite.

Finally, top the finished pizza with scallions and some grated Parmesan.

Enjoy!  And do send us some ideas of your own...

 

 

 
Bacon and Eggs Pizza
Brad English

 

Eggs

 

The first time I had egg on a pizza was at a little French Creperie in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  My family was visiting me while I was working up there, and we took a weekend trip over to the island.  One morning we went to this little place I read about known for having a good cappuccino.  When I saw that there was a pizza with eggs, I had to try it.  I don't know about you, but when I am eating eggs, toast is the primary delivery system for getting those eggs with the sauce, bacon, sausage, etc. up to my mouth.  Why wouldn't a pizza with the egg breakfast already arranged on it be the perfect meal?

 

That first egg pizza was a scrambled egg version with some Tyrolean bacon, chives and a little cheese mixed in.  It was truly delicious.  The eggs were still moist.  It was cheesy and the bacon, I found out, was painstakingly chosen over many others based on how it performed on the pizza.  I would have to say it was an epiphany moment for me.

A few years later, while we were filming the original Pizza Quest road trip, we were in San Francisco at Pizzeria Delfina and these guys opened my eyes a little wider.  They made a pizza and finished it off by simply cracking an egg on top.  It came out sunny side up.  Craig Stoll, the owner, cut up the yolk with a fork and knife, spreading it around the top of the pizza.  Egg epiphany numero dos!  I love the runny yolk dripping off of my "toast."  It's a wonderful textural eating experience.  The yolk is, in effect, both the meal and a sauce.

 

Fast forward to now: I was in the mood for some runny yolk and pizza.  So I decided to have a Pizza Egg Fest!   I'll release these in three short recipe pictorials.  They all came out delicious and made a fantastic breakfast the next day.

The first was inspired by Nancy Silverton at Pizzeria Mozza, and it has egg, bacon, Yukon Gold

 
How do you re-heat your pizza?
Brad English

 

A Second Transformation - How do you reheat your pizza?

One morning recently I woke up thinking of making my second favorite pizza: Left-Over Pizza.  I often eat these babies cold, right out of the fridge -- there's just something I really like about a cold slice of pizza.  This is a great grab and go breakfast, washed down by a hot cup of coffee as I drive to work.  Ideally though, if there's time, I'll reheat my pizzas.

I thought about writing about my reheating process because of a recent incident.  I was working with a fellow pizza nut.  I had ordered some pizza from a new place in LA and sent a box up to her office.  I was out prepping a job and when I asked her later how the pizza was, she told me that her assistant had re-heated the pizza in the microwave and she wouldn't eat it.  I loved that, as I feel the same way.  Microwaves are great for soup and left-over Mexican food, but not pizza.  The dough is totally turned into something else -- a hot, tough-chewy sort of space dough, or cardboard type of thing.  Not good.

Over the years, I can't say when, I developed my pizza re-heating routine.  It's not complicated, but I think it's worth a post.  I hope we'll get some feedback and some new secret tricks from you as well.

My secret: I broil my left-over wedges.

It's not as fast as the microwave would be to bring it up to temperature, but it also doesn't destroy what was once a good slice of pizza.  I would even go so far as to say that it may breathe another bit of life into the pizza.  It transforms it to something similar, but adds another aspect of handling, or cooking to it -- a short high intensity exposure to heat creating a crisp and bubbly hot slice.

 

Start the broiler.

I use the top rack.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Place the pizza slices on the foil top down (cheese side down - crust up).  Sometimes toppings may come off, but you can grab them when you flip the pizza and place them back where they belong.

You have to pay attention here.  The broiler is hot and we're way up top on the upper rack and you will burn the pizza if you get distracted.  The trick is to find that perfect moment to flip the pizza.  You want to see the crust bottom turning brown.  You may see moisture bubbling loose from the crust.  You may let a little of it actually char.  Be careful, it will turn brown and then go black (too far gone!) rather quickly, so pay attention.  It is a matter of personal choice how far you take this.  Think of it as dialing in your crust.

Pull the rack out a little, or reach in with long tongs and flip your slices.  Pick up any fallen toppings and place back on the pizza.  Again, watch closely.  I'm looking to get things bubbling and turning a little brown.  You can decide how far to take this. Again, a little char here is good, as long as you don't over-brown everything along the way.

Take the slices out as soon as you think they are done - maybe a few seconds before you think they're done!

What you get with this method, in my opinion, is a new slice of pizza.  It's not the same as the original because you have transformed it a little, or a lot depending on how far you take it.  The crust is crisper than the original, but it's still tasty and crunchy and feels like bread should.  It's still a nice pizza dough.  The toppings are melty, caramelized, and slightly more melded to each other than the time the pie first came to life.

Delicious in my opinion!

I know Peter has another method and I want him to share that here as well.  He said that it's the same idea focusing on bringing the pizza back to life, or giving it another life although slightly transformed from the original. (See his note at the end of this post.)

One last thing on this.  I was just in NY again and took a train out to Di Fara's Pizza in Brooklyn.  Let me first say, this was well worth the trip and the wait, as Dom DeMarco made one pizza at a time for a long list of customers.  Afterward, I spoke with Peter to tell him about the pizza and he said he heard a secret to experiencing these pies.  The "secret" was that if you order a slice, they will re-heat it and that second time in the oven really brings it all together.  Can I rest my case here?!  I didn't try this at Di Fara, but I can now imagine what this secret is all about.

Let us know if you have any other secrets, or procedures in re-heating your pizza.

Note from Peter: Okay, here's my variation on Brad's excellent method:  use a non-stick frying pan and heat it up over a medium hot burner. Mist it lightly with olive oil pan spray or rub it with olive oil and place the slice (or slices), cheese and sauce side up, into the pan and put a heavy pan or pot or weight on it to press it into the pan (or press it down with your hand or a Teflon spatula or burger flipper). As soon as the bottom of the crust gets piping hot -- about 30 to 60 seconds-- flip the slice over, cheese side down, and again press it into the pan until the cheese melts, about 30 to 60 seconds. Use the spatula (or Teflon burger flipper) to get under the cheese and transfer the slice, right side up, to your plate where a hot, cheesy slice awaits you for breakfast or any time of the day or night.

 

 

 

 

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