You know how you start the weekend off with a bang?
No, not that cold, congealed stuff–though that has a special place in my drunken little heart, too.
Real pizza. Hot pizza.
Couldn’t you just see a commercial or a full page magazine ad like that? There’s also:
“Pizza. That was easy.”
Oh, wait. Staples already did that. How about:
“Pizza for breakfast? Way radical!” with a picture of a spiky-haired kid skateboarding past, grabbing the pizza out of his mom’s hands while she wears a half-shocked, half-bemused expression.
Nah. Too nineties. We could do:
“Rich. Satisfying. Smooth. Pizza.”
Nope. Sounds like a pizza-flavored cigarette. Oh, oh, I know:
“Same great taste. Now for breakfast!”
Didn’t McDonald’s do something like that? Like, when they tried to market something that looked like a quadruple-pounder with cheese and three buns as a great way to start the morning?
But let’s get real. The point of this post isn’t how to create a pizza advertisement. It’s how to make a damn fine pizza.
Last weekend I wanted to surprise The Boy with something special on Saturday morning.
You know. Aside from the usual something special.
Since he’s a fiend for my homemade pizza–on the stone, but of course–I figured that was the way to do it. You know, keep the spontaneity alive. Well, it would’ve kept the spontaneity alive, except halfway through our movie on Friday night I lunged for the remote, paused the DVD, turned to him, pressed my face right up against his, and went, “OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, GUESS WHAT, I’M MAKING PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST TOMORROW ANDAREN’TYOUSOEXCITED?!”
I never said I could keep a secret.
I usually use Chris Bianco’s recipe for pizza crust, which is excellent, to be sure. But seeing as how I have a sourdough starter just lounging around, I used that instead. WHICH WAS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER. I didn’t measure. Didn’t weigh. Didn’t consult any recipes. Just went with my gut. And my gut told me to feed and proof the sourdough starter on the counter for 8 hours, then toss in enough flour, wheat germ, and salt to make a nice, soft dough. Then my gut instructed me to knead the dough until it was firm and elastic-y, let it rise, punch it down, and let it rise again for another half hour. Bingo–sourdough pizza dough. And as we all know, sourdough bread makes THE BEST toast, and therefore is perfectly suited to tangy, crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, makes you go “Mmmm” pizza.
My gut is so smart. And strangely specific.
Anyhow, I did all this during the afternoon on Friday. Then I just stuck the dough in the refrigerator and prepped all the toppings so that the next morning would be effortless. I don’t think I have to tell you how flexible pizza is, so just use whatever’s on hand, whatever appeals to you. But in my case, I halved cherry tomatoes, snipped up a bunch of fresh sage, cooked and crumbled a few slices of applewood bacon, shredded some aged mozzarella, and painted my nails. Oh, the nail thing was for me. Not the pizza. But I highly recommend it.
The next morning as I stumbled out of bed and zombied my way to the bathroom, I made a quick detour to put the oven on full blast at 500F degrees and take the dough out to rest on the counter. About 45 minutes later, I dusted my pizza peel with cornmeal, stretched out my dough, and began piling it all on.
Mmm, piling it all on.
Ooh, this would be a good place to mention that I topped the pie with a raw egg carefully cracked on top. I LOVE doing this. When the pizza comes out the oven, the egg will be fully cooked with a still-runny yolk, so you can break it and spread it out all over the pizza. Don’t give me that look, you know you want it.
Into the oven, on top of the pizza stone, it went and baked for about 8 minutes, with a brief run under the broil setting to give the cheese that…oh, you know, that golden, crusty, but still buttery and oeey-gooey quality. When it came out, we indulged while emitting the most graphic “oohs” and “aahs,” probably causing our downstairs neighbor to think we had the other kind of Saturday morning surprise. Nope. Pizza. Yum. Of course, I had enough dough for two pies, which was one more than we could handle, so we flash froze the other one, already baked, and reheated it at 400F for dinner last night, which means it was:
Pizza. For Breakfast. For Dinner.