Potato and Blue Cheese Pizza
Six individual pizzas
No-knead dough recipe adapted from Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan, from an original recipe by Jim Lahey. The main thing to remember when making these individual pizzas is that the skillet is very, very hot. I’ve actually written down on a notepad “HOT PAN” in large block letters, and kept it next to my work area to remind me so I don’t touch something that’s hot that doesn’t look it. When making a lot of pizzas at once, especially if I have guests, I pre-bake the dough slightly (as I did here) so I’m not struggling with it and making a mess when friends arrive. If you’re having company, you can also have the dough rounds topped with the potatoes and cheese, then just bake them off right before serving, since they only take a few minutes under the broiler to finish. Because potatoes star in these pizzas, try to find flavorful varieties. Often greenmarkets have farmers who grow specialty potatoes and those are worth seeking out since they’re a lot tastier than commercial varieties.
For the pizza dough:
4 cups (560g) bread flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (see Notes)
1 1/2 cup (375ml) water, at room temperature
For the topping:
2 medium onions, peeled
1 pound (450g) small, firm potatoes, such as Yukon golds or fingerling
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, plus a handful of thyme branches
6 to 8 ounces (170g-225g) blue cheese
Garlic oil:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Additional ingredients you’ll need:
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the dough:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and yeast.
2. Stir in the water until well-blended, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
To make the pizza toppings:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
2. Sauté the onions in a large skillet, stirring frequently over moderate heat, seasoned with salt and pepper, until soft and translucent. They will take about eight minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the fresh thyme leaves. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
3. Slice the potatoes in a little larger than 1/8-inch (.30cm) slices and toss them with a just enough olive oil to lightly cover them, a few teaspoons, along with salt and pepper and sprigs of fresh thyme.
4. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
To bake the pizzas:
1. Heat the broiler in the oven and set the oven rack so it’s 5-inches (12cm) from the heating element.
2. Set a cast iron skillet on the stove top over high heat and let it get very hot.
3. Shape the dough into 8-inch (20cm) rounds on a lightly floured surface, then working one-by-one, overturn the cast-iron skillet and carefully put a round of dough on the upturned bottom of the skillet, using your fingers to nudge the dough to the edges and being careful to avoid touching the very hot skillet.
4. Bake each round of dough individually under the broiler until each is lightly browned and “set” – they will only take a minute or two, so watch them carefully. As they come out of the oven, pry the dough off the pan (you may need to use a spatula if they stick a bit) and set each one on a wire cooling rack.
(You can also put the toppings on the raw dough, right before step #4, and bake the pizzas off to finish them.)
5. Brush each round of dough in the center with garlic oil, making sure to get some of the minced garlic on each round. Divide the onions over each round of dough, leaving a border, then top with potatoes and crumble blue cheese in large pieces over each pizza.
6. Run each pizza one-by-one under the broiler, on the overturned cast-iron skillet, then serve immediately.