I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I did not have my 1st pizza until the 8th grade! The closest thing I had ever had to pizza was putting spaghetti sauce on english muffins topped with grated Parm cheese and popping them in the toaster oven. However, once I had my 1st pepperoni pizza from Pasquales, I was hooked. Unfortunately, pizza shops were not the norm for Doraville, GA, and it was several years later before pizza parlors were all the rage. And still unfortunate for us, our pizza places were chains, but it was adequate for my "not so adventurous" palate at the time. When I got to high school, Shakey's Pizza was the place to be on Friday nights after a football game. But, I'm thinking I went more for the "boys" than the pizza!
My 1st attempt at homemade pizza was the Chef Boy-R-Dee in the box. I remember trying to roll out that small ball of dough large enough to cover a pizza pan. Usually mine had a couple of thin spots that you could read the paper through and when it was baked, it looked like a large round cracker. I guess I was going for the "extra crispy" crust. Then I graduated to the Boboli already prepared crust, which was good, but very "heavy" in my opinion. I was also branching out with my toppings - adding green olives, onions, peppers, (uncooked, I might add), sliced pepperoni and still using a jarred sauce - thinking I was very creative indeed. I might add that homemade pizza didn't occur often, it was way to easy to call Domino's.
So imagine my delight when I was rummaging through the deli case at Trader Joe's and found a ball of already prepared pizza dough - and better still only .99 cents! I scooped up a couple of balls and put them in my buggy (yes we call it a buggy "down south", but you may refer to it as a cart) You already know my relationship with dough (see above thread), so know that I was way beyond excited to discover this. I usually have at least one ball in the freezer at all times - you just never know when a pizza craving will hit!
Over the last few years my toppings have become much more appealing and creative.
But as much as I love to be imaginative, my favorite is the very simple and rustic Pizza Marguerite. My friend Liz from the Barefoot Contessa board, shared with me how she makes hers and that is generally my "go to" pizza. Only difference is that I add caramelized onions (what are lots better than raw, I might add) But a couple of weeks ago my friend Laura from the board told of a pizza she made that really sparked my interest - Fig, Prosciutto and Feta cheese. So when I went to the Farmers Market Friday and saw figs, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. I went on to Kroger for the prosciutto but when I saw Hot Capicola on sale as a Manager's Special, I decided that would make a good sub. I couldn't wait for Sunday night which I had designated as "pizza night."
I usually grill the dough in my cast iron skillet because I really like the crispy texture it produces. I love my cast iron skillet - it belonged to my great grandmother and is about 100 years old! I also decided to make 2 small pizzas. One Pizza Marguerite using the home grown tomatoes from the Farmers Market and the other -Fig and Feta and Capicole. I divided my dough and formed two pies, then set about getting the rest of the ingredients together
Crispy Pizza crust -displayed on my "Becky cutting board"
Pizza Marguerite - Caramelized Onions, local Home grown tomatoes and shredded mozzerella (which is what I had on hand) I do prefer a ball of fresh mozzerella, but I forgot to pick one up. I layered the tomatoes, sprinked a little red pepper flakes and basil over them and added the caramelized onions and topped with the cheese.
Fig , Feta & Capicole - layered the Capicole, quartered figs and sprinkled the feta
Ready to pop into the oven
Right out of the oven! (375 degrees about 15 minutes or so)
Ok, I confess I did '"guild the lily" a bit - I drizzled a little local Snellville honey over the Fig-Feta pizza while it was warm.
There are really "no limits" when it comes to homemade pizza! Be creative! Have a Pizza Party!
And while we still do not have a really good authentic "pizza joint", I'll just settle for "Sissy's Pizza Palace!"
May the LORD bless his people with peace and happiness and let them CELEBRATE!