Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vampire Repellant Pizza

aka The 50 Garlic Clove Pizza

Last night, Evan's months-long dream finally materialized in this pizza. I had my doubts, but honestly it might have been the best pizza we've ever made. It goes without saying that anyone who plans on kissing anyone else in the house should be on board with eating it. Your house will smell, maybe for days, as will your person. I honestly feel sorry for the people who will be practicing yoga next to Evan this morning. We will be opening windows today to air out.

As with many of my culinary successes, this pizza's life started
with a Cook's Illustrated consultation. In this case, the crust and the basic sauce were taken from their Thin-Crust Pizza recipe.
There are two biggest contributions to pizza-dom it offers is a dough that ferments for 3 days and the cooking technique that involves moving the baking stone to the top shelf of the oven set at the highest temperature. But any favorite crust recipe would work.

Evan started separating the garlic on Friday and sort of overdid it, ending up with 106 cloves that filled a 4 cup measure. As much as he wanted to try to use them all, I think 50 is about the right number as too much more weight on the crust would have resulted in topping overload and a flimsy base. As part of the deal for me to make this, Evan and Ian were in charge of garlic peeling.

I put about 12 crushed cloves into a half cup portion of the basic sauce.

I roasted 2 dozen, working half of those into the dough as I rolled it. I would skip this step next time because it compromised the dough's integrity and didn't add anything flavor-wise. The remainder of the roasted garlic was put on top of the pizza that had already been covered with sauce, grated parmesan, and homemade mozzarella. Using roasted cloves was critical to forcing in every flavor of garlic possible. It really made a difference in the end product.

Using an neat little tool I picked up from Pampered Chef, the remaining cloves were sliced into paper thin wisps. Some of these were placed on top of the pizza in their raw state. Next, the pie was placed in the screaming hot oven to bake.

I sauteed the remainder of the paper thin garlic VERY gently in roasted garlic infused olive oil (just because I happened to have it to use up, regular olive oil would have sufficed.) I salted moderately at the sautee step and at the end. In order to taste the garlic, there must be salt.

After the garlic had turned a very slight golden color I drained it and patted
it dry. This left me with slightly crunchy, slightly sweet little garlic crisps that I topped the pizza with when it emerged from the oven. I gave it a sprinkle of basil and the 50 garlic pizza was done. It was even better with bit of crushed red pepper flake. The garlic was prominent but not burning or raw while covering the full spectrum of flavor. Anyone who really enjoys garlic will love it, as will anyone who really doesn't like other people standing too close.

I also made a regular mushroom/pepper pizza as well as a Gluten Free one using almond flour. The GF was okay, but honestly some things just can't be done justice without wheat and pizza crust is one of them.

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