One in a series of occasional stories about food children might like.
Kids are funny about pizza, but so are fathers.
In my childless past, I didn’t hesitate at driving over a hundred miles to stand in a two-hour line at Sally’s Apizza (or Pepe’s or Modern), those remarkable pizzerias in New Haven. Nor did I pause at blowing the last of my savings on a trip to Naples to sample a buffalo milk pie at the source.
Not to mention the dollars and sweat and man hours spent in front of a furnace-hot oven. I should add that somehow I wheedled the recipe for grilled pizza from the chef at Al Forno, in Providence, birthplace of that magnificence, after which I spent weeks trying (mostly failing) at a re-creation.
All of this, to my mind, worth it. But introduce young children to the mix and suddenly those same dollars and sweat and man hours look exceedingly precious.
Since picking up the following foolproof recipe — from of all places an Austrian graduate student studying German literature in Providence — I can’t imagine not using it every week for the rest of my days. You take simple brilliance wherever you can grab it.
It’s a frying pan pizza, and the very basic, doable-during-the-busy-week procedure involves draping a stretched or rolled round of pizza dough into an oil-splashed 12-inch skillet, topping it with sauce and cheese and whatever you want, then finishing it under the broiler.
The technique is not only kid-friendly, it’s kid-party-making. Of course that’s not very hard, but how often does kid party translate to high-caliber, adult fare?
So one of my sons skims his designated dough with the subtlest daub of sauce, Michelangelo-style. Another covers his with a torrent of corn cut off the husk, which deliciously caramelizes under the broiler. And Big Daddy mops up with an enduring standby: anchovies, chopped red onion, red pepper flakes.
Let the pizza party begin and not end.
Frying pan pizza
Here’s the delicious basic version, which will want for weekly invention.
|½||pound pizza dough|
|¼||cup tomato puree|
|½||cup mozzarella, shredded|
|¼||cup parmesan or pecorino romano, grated|
|1-2||tablespoons olive oil|
1. While heating broiler and a 12-inch frying pan (not nonstick) over medium heat on your stovetop, roll or stretch dough into a 10-inch round, using a little extra flour as necessary so it does not stick.
2. Pour olive oil into pan, swirl around, and lay in the dough. Follow with a spooned layer of pureed tomato, then mozzarella, parmesan (or pecorino romano), a dusting of salt and pepper, and a spiraled drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Use a spatula to detach the dough if it’s sticking anywhere, also to check the bottom of the dough after a minute. Once it’s spotted brown, around two minutes, slide the pan under the broiler until it’s nicely crisped. Don’t be bashful about allowing a couple of bubbles of char to pop up.
3. Slide with a spatula onto a cutting board and serve.Ted Weesner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.