Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bacon, Potato, Rosemary & Fontina Cheese Pizza, by Tyler Florence (heaven on a plate)


Tyler Florence... yes, he's eye candy on his Food Network show "Tyler's Ultimate".  But, I can personally attest to two things-- he's very down-to-earth, and approachable, because I had the privilege to meet him when he was a guest at our local Harvest Festival, in Carmel Valley.  I can also say, with authority, that he's an awesome chef. I was the lucky recipient of a plate of food he prepared at the Harvest Festival-- it was delicious.  What I like about Tyler Florence is that he creates recipes that are outside-the-box. He's uses flavor combinations that I find myself wanting to try for myself. Such was the case, when I watched Tyler Florence make this recipe on this season's episode on "Tyler's Ultimate".  First, the pizza crust, which took about 15 minutes for me to make, with the assistance of my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and a dough hook:

Let's talk about yeast, shall we?  Do not fear!  I prefer to use SAF instant yeast, because I don't have to do the 5-10 minute wait of mixing rapid rise yeast with sugar (or honey). However, I still had some active dry yeast, so I decided to try Tyler Florence's pizza crust recipe (I'm still in-love with my King Arthur Flour Pizza Crust recipe, with semolina flour). Use very warm water (no more than 110F) mixed with sugar and yeast.  The top left photo shows the bubbling action that started. This is a good sign!  To six cups of unbleached flour (I never used bleached flour... bleach in my food? Yep, that's how the cheap stuff is done). I am a loyal King Arthur Flour customer), add kosher salt, (and I added the KAF pizza dough flavor) and then add the bubbly yeast-water-sugar combo.... (printable recipe is at the bottom of this post). You can do this by hand, and the printable recipe tells you how. Me? I like technology and I let the dough hook do all the mixing and hard work...


Ya gotta add olive oil to pizza dough. It's the right thing to do!  Now mix this dough until it feels right-- too crumbly add a little more water-- which is what I did. I added about 2 Tablespoons more water, until it felt elastic-y (is that a word?)  If it too soft, add a little more flour.  On a lightly floured surface, I kneaded this a few times, folding it over itself until it seemed elastic. See?  Now, into a lightly oiled bowl, when the dough. I don't have a warming drawer, so I turn the oven on to WARM and then turn it off a few minutes later.  The bowl is covered with plastic (I use a dough doubler with a tight lid) and then I left the house for three hours...which is totally unnecessary-- one hour would have done the trick!

Hello?!  That's a lot of pizza dough. I very gently deflated the dough with my fist...  now to prepare the topping:

Bacon... my husband's aphrodisiac.  I keep applewood bacon in my freezer. It's much easier to cut, so I don't both to defrost it.  After reading reviews on this recipe, I decided to pre-cook the bacon...

I love my cast iron skillet, now that I finally learned how to season it and take care of it-- that's another blog post...



The toppings will be fingerling potatoes and thinly sliced onions. Let's talk about the fear of mandolins, shall we?  I love my mandoline. It's older than my 21-year old son and I have never cut myself!  I've had closer calls using my expensive chef's knife... just use that "guard" that comes with it (pictured)! 

Thinly slice the potatoes (you could use Yukon Golds) and the onion-- I used sweet Vidalia onions. I cut fresh rosemary, from our garden.  In retrospect, I wish I had added some freshly minced garlic-- I will definitely do that next, time.  I chose to stick to Tyler's recipe.  About that bacon...

I drained the fat and, see, the bacon isn't completely cooked. I let it just start to brown. Now, for the cheese...

I have a weakness for Fontina cheese. Tyler says to grate one cup-- I doubled it!  Back to the pizza dough.  Sure, you can use a pizza stone. I have a small one, and I dream of owning a large square one-- for baking breads.  However, I was intrigued at how Tyler uses a large baking sheet (jelly roll size), so that's what I did.  Into a 450F oven, I preheated the pan for about 10 minutes (while I made the topping).  While it was preheating...

The dough was super easy to work with. I decided to roll it out on a non-stick mat, and I pre-measured it to fit the pan (13x18).  Otherwise, you could try and work with it on a hot pan, which I opted not to do. I slid the pre-measured dough onto the very hot pan, which I drizzled with a little olive oil. A section tore a bit, so I used one of my cake decorating tools-- worked great!


Now, spread out the topping evenly-- and sprinkle with the fontina cheese (not pictured....I forgot). Bake at 45F for about 20-25 minutes. Be prepared for an intoxicating combination of delicious flavors wafting from your oven-- I could hardly wait!


You like?  Me like?!

The crust looks perfect, too.

This kind of reminds me of Flammkuchen... but Tyler has a "ta-da" garnish for this pizza...

Fresh arugula and lemon juice.  Who knew?  Seriously, after reading the reviews on this recipe, the unanimous opinion was not to skip this step. Still, I did an experiment...

One plain slice, nice and hot (not pictured: an ice cold beer in a glass).  Yummy! But, let's kick this up a notch...

Now, for Tyler Florence's way... a little arugula...a little lemon juice...

VERDICT:  Delicious!  The slightly peppery arugula and fresh lemon juice is a perfect compliment to the bacon and onion.  The potatoes are so subtle, because they are very thinly sliced.  Craig and I ate several pieces, and we both liked this very "different" pizza. We both agree that skipping the arugula/lemon juice topping isn't an option for us.  The next time, I would definitely want to use more bacon, and to add some fresh garlic to the topping-- just a little bit.  We also added a little fresh grated Parmesan to the pizza.   As for the crust...

VERDICT:  I have to say, that this pizza crust is a keeper!  Preheating the pan, yielded a crispy crust.  I used 1/4 of the crust dough and it's in the refrigerator.  I find that letting it ferment a day or two adds even more flavor.  I stopped buying frozen pizzas a long time ago-- and I won't buy pizza dough in a can.  Trust me, you can make the dough in about 15 minutes.  Make it a day before, then bring it to room temperature and make this pizza-- or any pizza.  The crust is a winner.  It's also a bit healthier version of pizza, and I believe it's a lot less expensive than take-out gourmet pizzas.

Tyler Florence rocks!





Here's the printable recipe:



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22 comments:

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, this is just incredible!

Koek! said...

Oh gosh - this has everything on it that I love... Gorgeous!
Robyn

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Now that is one seriously fabulous pizza. How can you not eat the whole thing?

Stacey Snacks said...

Deb,
Gorgeous crust!
I make a pizza from Tyler's Ultimate when he visited Italy yrs ago....it's on a sheet pan with rosemary, caramelized onions, pancetta and fresh spinach. Some fresh mozzarella and olive oil. I love it! Thanks for reminding me!

Bellini Valli said...

I love potato pizzas. This one is a keeper in my books.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Yeast scares me, but this "pizza" looks so good I might actually try and make it!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is a pretty decadent combination of ingredients - go Debby (and Tyler)!

TKW said...

Oh my gosh--I think I just drooled on the computer keyboard.

Julie said...

That really does look like heaven on a plate!

Joanne said...

I have to say, I've never had anything by Ty that wasn't seriously amazing. Definitely need to try this! Fontina is really the perfect cheese for this!

WizzyTheStick said...

This is indeed the ultimate! Lovin' the look of this pizza

tasteofbeirut said...

Your pizza is awesome! I can't tell you how much I loved the last touch! The squeezing of lemon and the arugula sounds like a Lebanese touch, we squeeze lemon on everything!

Monica H said...

Yummy! This is a "different" pizza but it looks delicious. Love that you doubled the cheese and everything is better with more bacon!

Kim said...

You are reading my mind with this recipe, Debby! I've have wanting to try a pizza with potatoes on it lately and this looks amazing. Even better if Tyler made it;-)

Cherine said...

This is irresistible!!

Kait said...

This recipe looks and sounds delicious. I've never had a potato pizza before, but after looking at all your wonderful photos, I might have to make one this week.

http://cookingwithkait.blogspot.com

Pink Lady said...

i bet that was heavenly...it will probably take me a minute to get the nerve to try to make pizza dough, but the other ingredients are calling my name!

p.s. i need to see your post about the cast iron skillet *help!* ;-)

Darius T. Williams said...

Heaven on a plate is an understatement - this looks fantastic.

Raina said...

Pizza looks amazing. Great tutorial..thanks!

Velva said...

That looks amazing. This is a keeper!

Robin said...

Debby, You made me believe I could make decent pizza! I haven't had much luck in years! I didn't make the potato pizza, but got my confidence back!! Thanks again for another great cooking lesson!!!

http://mycuriousnature.blogspot.com/2010/05/pizza-success.html

Jennifer said...

Now this is my kind of pizza!!!! Loving the rosemary and fontina!! "heaven on a plate" for certain