As you may have noticed, we're pretty excited about spring over here at subnaught headquarters. On the menu tonight was this delicious asparagus pizzete, yet another reminder of the start of the season.
Here are my five steps to pizza perfection:
- Acquire pizza dough. There are lots of places to get fresh pizza dough these days. I've been told that the stuff at Trader Joe's is quite good. Other people like to get their dough from the local pizza joint. I got mine from the Pasta Shop at Rockridge Market Hall, and it was fine. Of course you can always make your own dough, but if you don't have the time, I don't think you lose much by going with store bought dough.
- Stretch the dough into shape. Stretching your dough rather than rolling it will help it stay light and airy. Stretch it gently at first, while slowly rotating the dough. It sometimes helps to let the dough rest halfway for a few minutes and then begin stretching again. Don't worry too much about getting a perfect circle.
- Top your pizza. Okay, this is where we need to talk about tomatoes. All those Chuck E. Cheese's birthday parties have conditioned us to think that pizza has to have tomato sauce on it. Here is my opinion: fresh, peak-of-the-season, farmers' market tomatoes deserve a place on your pizza; all others, and products derived therefrom, do not. Am I exaggerating for dramatic effect? Maybe. But maybe not. Other than that, I think you know how to top a pizza.
- Broil your pizza. This is the key. There have been various attempts to maximize the temperature attainable in a conventional home oven. By far the simplest, and in my opinion the best, is to use your broiler. It is true that exotic methods such as mounting the pizza on a preheated, up-turned, cast iron pan and short-circuting the thermostat will get you hotter, but I don't think the difference in quality is worth the effort. With the pizza placed an inch or two below the broiler, your total cooking time should be between two and three minutes.
- Finish your pizza. I like a drizzle of olive oil, a shake or two of sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon, but, as always, let taste be your guide.