Wednesday, June 16, 2010
After a day spent gardening (not namby pampy planting some seeds gardening, it was heavy duty digging up old shrubs and brambles gardening) some simple-to-prepare summertime food was called for .
I had some pizza dough in the freezer which I had remembered to take out and defrost a few hours before.. I like my pizza with super thin, “size zero” crust, really the only place size zero is ever appropriate ;-) I hate doughy, thick pizza crust and have found the only real solution to getting pizza the way I like it, it to make it myself. I tend to make a big batch and then freeze it in small ball portions suitable for individual pizzas as and when needed.
My favourite recipe is the Jamie Oliver one, using Italian 00 flour which you can get in good delis nowadays. Its super fine and makes lovely pizzas, if you can’t get hold of it strong white flour will do. Plain flour doesn’t really cut it as it doesn’t have the necessary gluten content. Here is a link to Jamies recipe - I tend to mix it in a huge bowl rather than on the counter top after a few incidents where the liquid escaped from its floury walls and dripped all down my counter top- the ones they sell in DIY stores for washing up dishes are a perfect size.
Sometimes if I have a homemade tomato sauce around I use that, some advise plain passata ( jars of sieved tomatos) but I find it a little bitter and lacking somewhat in the flavour dimension department. Luckily my friend Maria who is involved in the gardening project had brought some lovely sun-dried tomato pesto so that was recruited in. We went with my old favourite topping Fiorentina: spinach, garlic, mozzarella, pine nuts and an egg. I didn’t have as much spinach as I would have liked but I was serving with loads of salads so you see pizza night can be reasonably healthy with the right accompaniments.
I had a lovely mix of tomatoes which I turned into a simple tomato salad with a warm garlic oil dressing and feta with lemon zest and fresh oregano on the side. I made another simple salad of some asparagus spears drenched with a simple mustard vinaigrette. With the dough already made, this was the ultimate fast food dinner - on the table in less than 15 minutes, much quicker than ringing the Dominos and in my humble opinion, a whole stratosphere of difference in the taste department.
Tomato salad with warm garlic oil and feta with lemon zest and fresh oregano.
A selection of different tomatoes - colours and sizes if you can get them
1/4 of a packet of feta cheese
1 clove of garlic sliced finely
1 dessertspoon of olive oil
Some fresh oregano leaves ( These grow really easily, invest in a pot)
Salt and pepper
1. Chop up the tomatoes and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper
2. Crumble the feta into a small bowl or ramekin, gently mix through the lemon zest and oregano
4. Just before serving the salad, pour the warm flavoured oil and garlic over the tomatoes.
Asparagus with mustardy vinaigrette
Large bundle of asparagus spears ( try and get Irish or British if you can - much more flavour as they haven’t got to travel so far)
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
3-4 teaspoons of olive oil ( add 3 and adjust if necessary)
salt and pepper
1. Steam asparagus for 3-7 minutes depending on how thick they are
2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a clean jar with a lid and shake well until emulsified
3. Pour over the asparagus, any extra dressing can be kept in the jar in the fridge.
Devour all at a leisurely pace, preferably eaten outside ;-)