Sunday, 21 January 2007

making pizza.

Today I made pizza in an attempt to recreate the amazing 'Sienna' pizza I had at the Veggie Bar in Melbourne a week or two ago. My family seemed to like it - they ate it all up - although my brother did ask what the pizza base had done to me to deserve such hippie toppings, and my dad said it was good, but had too many weird ingredients to be technically a pizza in his book. How very Aussie Male of them. Apparently The Castle was lost on them. Well, I reckon you could put the same ingredients in a focaccia or toastie with pretty good results. A rose by any other name... Anyway, I thought it was good, and with a bit of tweaking should stand up to the original quite well.

If you want to try it yourself, the recipe follows. I've called it as I made it though, and I'm not totally sure how to universalize some of the ingredients. Sugo, which I've used for the tomato base, is available from Adelaide Fresh Fruiterers, and I don't really know exactly what's in it. I think if you're not in my neighbourhood, some pureed fresh or canned tomatoes would do it - nothing too spicy or salty - maybe with a little sugar added. I used a pre-bought pizza base, which worked pretty well, but it was a nice fresh gourmet one (ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt, tomato, herbs) and I'm not sure a commercial frozen one would be as good. By all means make your own pizza dough - I'm sure it would be better, I'm just too lazy and my homemade pizza bases always seem to turn out soggy. Also, the red onion jam quantity given here was a tad much, but frankly, I couldn't be bothered working out how to divide up the measurents so you can do it yourself, or be prepared for some leftovers as it makes a lot. In any case, I wasn't too fusy with the measurements and it worked so you can probably be a bit vague with it and it should be fine. The whole dish took me 90 minutes from entering the kitchen to leaving it (including eating time), so it's not the fastest dish in the world, but not the slowest either. You could certainly make the onion jam and capsicum in advance and refrigerate them, and then you could probably whip it up in under half an hour.

Sienna Pizza
(makes 2 large pizzas).

5 red onions
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
50ml red wine vinegar

2 medium red capsicums

2 large pizza bases
500g sugo
8 cloves garlic

1 pack haloumi
2 lemons
2 handfuls rocket

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Make the onion jam. Slice the onions very finely into half rings. Fry slowly in a big frying pan for 10 minutes in the oil and butter until translucent, then add the sugar and vinegar and fry for another 15-20 minutes until dark, sweet and jammy.

3. At the same time, blacken the capsicum. I did this by putting it under the griller (less cleaning up), but you can roast it or bbq it or put it in a dry frying pan or hold it over the gas. When the capsicum is thoroughly black put it in a bowl covered with gladwrap until it is cool enough to handle. Then peel the skin and remove the seeds and pith. Slice.

4. Crush the garlic cloves and mix into the sugo. Spread this over the pizza bases and put them in the oven.

5. While the bases are heating, chop the haloumi, wash and thoroughly dry the rocket, and chop the lemon into wedges.

6. When the bases are hot and beginning to get crispy round the edges (10 minutes perhaps), top them with the onion, capsicum, haloumi and half of the lemon wedges. Return to the oven and bake until the haloumi begins to go brown.

7. Remove from the oven, top with the rocket, squeeze more lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

No comments: