For some reason I always get the hankering to make pizza in the middle of the summer when turning the oven up to 500 degrees borders on masochistic. I told myself that this year would be different. Simple. I'd wait until fall, when the first chill in the air would welcome the searing oven temperature and make for a cozy evening. But then the New York Magazine Cheap Eats issue showed up in my mailbox with its alluring pizza spread. Toast. I promptly made pizza (on what seemed like the hottest day of the summer to date).
The following recipe is adapted from the January (note the winter month) 2002 issue of Bon Appetit. I chose it because Swiss chard is growing up a storm on The Anthill Farm and, in turn, my fridge is stocked. I love love loved the pizza toppings here, but the crust wasn't necessarily a keeper. It was tasty and satisfied my craving, but I will keep looking for "the" recipe. Next on my list is Jim Lahey's no-knead recipe from the aforementioned (and somewhat manipulative:) New York issue, but in this particular case I wasn't willing to wait the 12 hours the dough needs to rise. The clock was ticking and I really wanted homemade pizza for dinner.
White pizza with Swiss chard, goat cheese and garlic
4 small or 2 large servings
3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 t. dry yeast
1 T olive oil
1 t. salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 bunch (10 oz) Swiss chard, ribs removed
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
4 oz soft goat cheese, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
- For the crust:
- Pour 3/4 cup water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over and stir to blend. Let stand for 10 minutes so yeast dissolves.
- Add oil and salt and then 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until well blended (dough will be sticky) and turn out onto a well floured surface and knead, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
- Form dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with a kitchen towel and set in a cool-ish room temp place until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Punch risen dough down, reform into a ball and allow it to double in size again, about 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, cook the chard (stems and leaves) in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and squeeze dry. Coarsely chop cooked chard.
- In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook garlic until lightly browned. Remove garlic and set aside. Add the chard to the garlic infused oil and cook 1 minute. Season to taste.
- Preheat oven to 500 and, if you have one, place baking stone at base of oven. If not, place oven rack in bottom position.
- Punch down dough and form into a ball. Place on a floured work surface, cover with kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes. Roll (primarily using your fingers to press and stretch dough) dough in to a 13 inch round and transfer to a rimless baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Sprinkle prepared dough with mozzarella cheese, leaving a 1 inch border. Scatter chard over mozzarella, top with goat cheese rounds and then reserved garlic. Brush the crust with olive oil and drizzle a bit over pizza.
- Bake, rotating once, until crust is browned, about 15 minutes.