I am toying with the notion, suggested by one of my brothers, of having a weekly post that offers tips and recipes for, as he put it, ‘dudes who love bacon.’ Of course, it won’t be just restricted to dudes. But I do like the idea of having a weekly post that features an easy-to-make dish (not to insinuate that dudes can’t cook – of course they can – I just mean something easy because it is the middle of the freaking week and something easy would be nice) or something unusual or creative. Or just bacon-tastic. SO… With that in mind, what follows is one my my favorite dishes. My version of an italian BLT pizza. You can use a pre-made crust or dough, but I have included my recipe for pizza dough if you want to go all out. Pizza crust is actually a snap to make and SO much cheaper when you make it from scratch. Anywhats, if you have any questions, put them in the Comments. Also, if you can think of a good snappy sarcastic name for this new blog feature, Comment that as well. I don’t have a picture of the BLT pizza, so enjoy one of my vegetarian BBQ chicken pizza for now:
ITALIAN BLT PIZZA
2 cups and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus extra to taste
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
Fresh ground pepper
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 – 2 tablespoons semolina flour
1 small onion, julienned
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of decent balsamic vinegar
4 oz chevre
4 oz pancetta, diced
2 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
2 heads belgian endive, finely chopped width-wise
1 – 2 sprigs fresh basil, rinsed, dried, de-stemmed, and chopped.
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
This takes about 30 minutes to assemble and 30 to bake; assembly and pre-bake times can overlap to shorten the total time needed. Use a pizza or baking stone for best results. This dough will make thin and crispy crust with a 16” diameter circle or a 14” x 14” square crust.
Place stone on lowest rack and preheat oven to 475°. Using a fork, stir flour, yeast, salt, and pepper in large bowl ‘til combined. Add olive oil and warm water and stir ‘til combined. Briskly stir with fork for an additional minute. Dough will be wet and very sticky to handle. Sprinkle extra flour on hands and dough and form dough into a ball and set in bowl. Sprinkle dough with flour and turn over in bowl; sprinkle with more flour. Cover bowl with towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Working quickly, pull heated stone from oven and sprinkle with semolina flour. Rub flour on hands and pat the dough flat and place on center of stone. Stretch the dough into your pizza shape as best you can without creating holes. You may use a rolling pin, though this isn’t necessary. Using your fingertips, poke pizza all over so that it is dimpled but do not break through or form holes. Drizzle with olive oil and spread so that the crust is lightly oiled all over. Sprinkle with salt. Return the stone and dough to the lowest rack and pre-bake the crust for 12 minutes or until top begins to show golden-brown areas.
In small skillet, fry the pancetta until crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan and place on a towel to drain off the excess grease. Without removing any remaining pancetta bits and grease from the skillet, add the julienned onions and butter to the skillet and saute. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and saute until onions are translucent and softened and “carmelized.” Remove from heat and set aside. Microwave chevre for 25 seconds on high to soften.
When crust is finished prebaking, remove it from the oven. Spread softened chevre all over the crust. Using a spatula, spread the onions and their sauce evenly over the chevre. Spread the pancetta evenly over the chevre and onion mix. Place sliced roma tomatoes evenly over the top of the pancetta. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until the crust is as brown as you like. Remove from oven and sprinkle sliced endive evenly over the pizza, then top with the chopped basil, then salt and pepper to taste. Slice and enjoy!