Cast Iron Pizza
Inventing a Pizza
This cast iron pizza can be customized to whatever you like. A well topped pizza requires a balance of flavors and textures. I keep it simple and quick by utilizing jarred sauces and store bought dough. Not everything needs to be homemade but if you’ve got the time and patience, go nuts.
I usually build my flavor profile around the sauce. A red sauce or pesto needs salty-spiciness (olives, bacon, anchovies, peppers) while a white sauce or an olive oil base is complimented by garlic and greens and a touch of sweetness (i.e. a drizzle of honey or a dollop of ricotta). Be creative, it would be hard to find a combination of ingredients that would taste bad on top of crisp crust. This particular variation finds its base around a tomato pesto and builds texture with soft potatoes and crispy cured pork.
Store-bought dough, when purchased fresh from a deli counter can be just as good as making your own with about a tenth of the effort. If you’re going all out and making your dough I suggest making it in big batches and storing the extra in your fridge or freezer, a little extra work on dough day pays dividends later. From-scratch dough gives you the freedom to be creative in the dough’s flavor and texture. My second grade teacher used to make her’s with black pepper and lemon zest, and the classic New York version ages the dough in the fridge for a funky/yeasty flavor.
1 ball pizza dough - large enough to fill a 12” cast iron skillet
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes - sliced thin
Italian cheese - shredded
I use a quattro formaggio blend of provolone, asiago, fontina and parmesan but even a simple mozzarella would do the job
2 fresno peppers
if fresnos aren’t available to you, use any medium heat pepper i.e., jalapeño
garlic - sliced thin
olive tapenade or chopped olives
plenty of olive oil
If your dough is coming from the fridge, start by setting it out on the counter for a couple hours or until it comes to room temperature. This will allow the dough to relax enough so that it will cooperate when you’re rolling it out.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Roll dough to fit a well-oiled heavy bottomed 12” skillet, preferably a cast iron. I like a little crust handle on each piece so I recommend stretching the dough slightly beyond 12” and folding the excess dough in on itself.
Thoroughly score the entire crust with a fork. This will release steam while the dough cooks and keeps big bubbles from deforming your crust.
Apply a generous coating of olive oil to the dough and par-bake for 6-8 minutes or until the crust just begins to change from pale white to very light brown. You want the crust to set enough so that the bottom doesn’t go soggy when it’s topped.
While the crust is getting a par-bake, thinly slice potatoes, garlic and peppers.
Top the par-baked crust with tomato pesto, potatoes, cheese, peppers, garlic, spec and spoonfuls of tapenade. Preferably in that order, with cracked black pepper all over.
Give the topped pie one more drizzle of olive oil and return to hot oven for about 15 minutes or until everything is golden brown with bubbly cheese. To get an extra crisp on the spec, I put my nearly finished pie under the broiler for no more than 2 minutes.
Rest the finished pizza until the cheese cools enough to be cut. About 2-3 minutes, which is plenty time to make yourself a drink.