We make pizza at home quite a bit. Our grocery store (the fab, fab, fab Fiesta Farms in Toronto) carries fresh regular and whole wheat pizza dough which makes it a really easy meal, particularly on days when I realize I haven't taken anything out of the freezer. Again. Why, oh why, is that so hard? It's not like dinner doesn't happen every single day. I've been casting about for something new with pizzas and came across a great idea from — no surprise — Jamie Oliver. I know fried pizza sounds like over kill but it's much lighter than it sounds. Frying makes the nice crust nice and crisp — something I struggle with in a regular oven. I made these over the course of a day. I sauteed the mushrooms after breakfast, made the sauce during afternoon nap and assembled the whole thing just before dinner.
Fried Pizza With Mushrooms
1 glug of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tin plum tomatoes
good pinch of fresh or dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
20 or so mushrooms, cleaned and sliced. I used Cremini, Shitake and Oyster but any mix would do
1 cup approximately of fresh boccancini or mozzarella
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, cleaned and chopped. I used oregano and thyme but basil would have been great, too
Sautee garlic in olive oil until it smells great but does not brown. Add canned tomatoes and herbs. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Keep mashing tomatoes to help them break down. I used a potato masher this time and it worked really well. Set aside.
Sautee mushrooms in a drop of olive oil until they are soft. They'll stick at first until they kick off a bit of moisture.
Slice your mozzarella or bocancini.
Have all your ingredients ready to go — assembly line style — when the doug is fried. Preheat oven to 475 to 500 degrees.
Rip the pizza dough into fist size pieces. Roll out as thinly as possibly, using lots of flour on your rolling pin to keep them from sticking. Try to get them at least 1/2 inch thin. The thinner the better.
Pour about 1 cm of vegetable oil in a skillet. Heat it until it's not quite smoking. Turn on your fan unless the fire alarm at your place isn't as hair trigger as mine. Put your rounds of dough in the hot oil for about 30 seconds a side, almost like you'd fry nan bread.
Place the fried dough on a cookie sheet, ready to be topped.
Spoon on some sauce, some mushrooms, top with cheese and herbs and pop them in a really hot oven for about 10 minutes. But watch them, as soon as the cheese is melting and the crust is golden brown, it's time to take them out. These were a big hit with the Esme and Julian. And to my surprise the extras re-heated pretty well for lunch the next day. The really nice thing about individual pizzas — as was noted by our Guest Blogger, Kateri Lanthier, is you could customize them easily.