Monday, October 16, 2006

World Bread Day: Pizza with Anchovies

world bread day '06

It’s Italian made, bright red, constructed from metal, and has the brand name 'Ferrari' on it.

No, unfortunately it’s not my car, it’s my pizza oven.

And for World Bread Day I thought I’d contribute a pizza made from a favourite ingredient: anchovies.

A while back I had a discussion with Neil about the merits of this little beastie, particularly about the Rolls Royce anchovy fillet from the Spanish company Ortiz.
So here I’m eating anchovies my favourite way – unadulterated by too much other stuff, and complemented simply by some garlic and good olive oil to let the flavour of these delicious morsels shine. If you really don’t warm to these little fishies, this brand is for you. I have converted many a turned up nose with a coaxing sample. Ortiz anchovies come from Cantábrico in the Bay of Biscay and you can buy them at Simon Johnson for AUD$14.50 for a 47.5g pack (pictured above). About enough for the pizza pictured here. Extravagant I know, but the taste is worth it. They don’t taste overly salty have a sweet intense succulence, and the ozone perfume of the sea. With the fragrance of them sizzling on top of this pizza you can close your eyes and smell the ocean wafting up your nostrils. They bear little resemblance to the hard, feather-boned, brackish bullets of brine you sometimes find in lesser brands. Give them a try. Go on. I dare you.

1 sachet (7-8g) instant dry yeast
2 cups plain flour or pizza flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1tbsp olive oil
¾ - 1 cup of lukewarm water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the water and oil. Mix until just combined and turn out onto a floured surface or board and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough is a bit sticky, dust it with a little flour as you knead it. It should spring back into shape when you press it with your finger and not be too stiff or dense. Oil the bowl you mixed the dough in and place the dough back in it (see picture above). Drizzle a little oil to moisten the top and cover with cling wrap or a clean tea towel. Place in a warm spot for an hour to rise and it will look like the picture below. We hope.

While it’s raising, mix together one clove of finely chopped garlic and a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it infuse. Slice your anchovies in half lengthways.

Pizza comes from a long line of traditional flatbreads, but the one we probably know best in its contemporary incarnation is the Pizza Margherita, created for Queen Margherita of Italy in 1889 by Rafaelle Esposito in Naples. Representing the Italian flag, with red tomatoes, green basil and white fresh mozzarella cheese, it became her favourite. So I couldn’t leave my post without a sample of this classic as well.

I prefer my pizza thin and crisp with just a hint of topping, the way it’s served in Florence and Rome, rather than with miles of thick dough and weighed down by heavy ingredients. Once the dough is risen, punch it with your fist, knead it again on a flat surface, and set it aside, covered, while you roll bits out. It will continue to rise, it has a life of its own. Divide it into 4-6 portions, and roll it into a circle ready for baking. Do one pizza at a time and leave the rest of the dough covered. If you don’t have a pizza oven, use a high heat in the conventional oven (about 250°C) and bake really quickly until the dough is crisp.

For your Margherita, use your favourite home made or store bought tomato sauce/ passata/ sugo and smear the top of the rolled out dough with it, making sure it’s not too wet. Top with sliced mozzarella or bocconcini and scatter with basil leaves and olive oil.

For the anchovy, brush the top of the dough with the garlic oil and place the anchovies around so each slice will have several strips of anchovy on it.

And if you’re interested in the pizza oven, you can get them from good food equipment stores. Personally I think they work best with homemade raw dough because they get SO hot they burn pre-made bases. But with a little fiddling you can get the heat right for commercial pizza bases as well. They have a stone element at the base and an electric element in the lid so it cooks the pizza fiercely from both sides giving a perfect crisp base and a melted bubbling top. As you can see here the pizza puffs in the middle of the dough as the air expands and then settles a bit when it's rested. It gives a very light and airy result. A pizza cooks in 2-4 minutes, so with a production line going you can churn out quite a few different varieties to hungry hordes, and cater for individual whims.



Anonymous Cascabel said...

That really looks delicious!

6:34 PM  
Blogger Jen the Bread Freak said...

Beautiful Pizza! I think I'll have to try your pizza dough next time I make some. Happy World Bread Day! (I found your blog through the technorati tag).

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Ellie said...

I've never seen a pizza oven like this - how much does one of those delights set you back?

7:49 PM  
Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Those anchovies sound delightful, and I'm with you on pizzas: light and thin and easy on the tasty toppings!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

Thanks Cascabel. They were really yummy :)

It's a pretty no-fail dough Jen TBF. Always works for me so I hope it does for you too.

It's one of my favourite toys Ellie. I think it cost about $250, and I know there's now an Australian copy that's a bit cheaper. I've seen them at Food Shows etc. I got mine years ago from teh Essential Ingredient, so I'm sure thay's have some if you want to give yourself a present.

Hi Helen - they really are the best. Takes you back to Italy *sigh*

7:48 AM  
Anonymous jules said...

loving the anchovies reb...I had an addiction to them once but managed to wean myself odd them and onto a cheaper option from Fratelli but you may have just made me fall off the wagon ;)

2:10 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

I know Jules - they really are addictive. Once I start, I just can't stop eating them. But it has spoiled other humbler anchovies for me for anything other than melting them into a braise or sauce. One of life's luxuries.

8:56 AM  
Blogger neil said...

I really can't comment, 'cause I'm sulking in the corner for I haven't tried the Ortiz anchovies yet. They sound so, so divine. So this weekend I'll walk past my favourite Spanish olives stuffed with anchovies, barely glance at the Vahlrona chocolate, not even pick up a cookbook or frypan and get myself a tin.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Well when you do Neil tell us all about it. And see if you can stop eating them!

10:08 AM  
Blogger chanit said...

Reb ,
Your Pizza makes me hungry, but I'm too far away.. Thank you ;)

5:01 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Thanks Chanit - you'll have to make some yourself - it's great fun.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to dare ME to eat pizza with anchovies on it! I'd hardly ever eat one which doesn't include them. Yes for a straight out of the can experience, Ortiz wins every time. But when mixing them with other ingredients on a dough base most other lesser brands will achieve the flavor hit you want.

ChovyChap 2008

9:39 AM  

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