How’s this for a light lunch? Pizza dough brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with Tellicherry and Aleppo pepper, then topped with goat cheese and prosciutto and baked, THEN topped with a pear and spinach salad with dried cherries and thinly sliced red onion, tossed in lemon poppyseed dressing.
Even better, from start to finish (making the dough from scratch) – this ‘Za was ready in a touch over two hours, which left me tons of time to read the paper, choose the wine and get ready for Sunday company…
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
•1/4 cup white sugar
•1/2 cup lemon juice (2 lemons, juiced)
•1/4 onion, diced
•1 tsp Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp salt
•2/3 cup canola oil
•1 tbsp poppy seeds
•1 pkg dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
•1 tsp sugar
•2/3 cup warm (110º) water
•1-2/3 cup flour
•3/4 tsp salt
•6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
•3 oz prosciutto, chopped
•Red onion, sliced thin
•2 red pears, sliced thin
First, make the dressing by dropping the onion into a blender jar along with the sugar, lemon juice, Dijon, and salt, and give it a good whir to finely chop the onion and get the ingredients started blending.
Scrape down the sides, and with the blender running, slowly add the canola oil through the small opening in the lid to allow the dressing to absorb the oil and emulsify into a pale, creamy consistency. Add the poppy seeds, give it another whir to blend, then transfer the dressing to a jar and stash it in the fridge, you are good to go.
Next, the dough: add the yeast and the sugar to the warm water in a two cup measure and set aside to rest until it foams up like this – about five minutes, but if you get busy and leave it for fifteen, you’re fine.
Place the flour and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and give it a good whirl to blend.
With the processor running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube and continue processing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl into a ball.
Process for another 30 seconds or so to knead the dough.
Lightly coat your hands with olive oil and remove the dough (be careful with the processor blade), turning the dough to form a ball and coat all sides with the olive oil.
Place the dough in a zipper plastic bag and set aside in a warm-ish spot to rise for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. If stuff happens, and you can’t get back to the dough in an hour, don’t fret, I’ve left some doughs to rise for up to four hours while I’ve been doing other things, and some recipes I’ve read claim that some dough will actually end up tasting better if you leave it be for a few extra hours.
Whenever you’re ready to deal with the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, punch it down, and let it rest for ten minutes.
Heat your oven to 425° and pop your pizza pan of choice in to preheat; I use a cast iron pan that works a treat in the oven or on the grill, and is basically non-stick since I followed the basic rules of cast iron pan handling.
Roll out the dough into a rough-ish circle, then brush the top with the olive oil.
Remove your pizza pan from the oven and transfer the dough to it.
Sprinkle the dough with the Tellicherry and Aleppo pepper, then with the goat cheese and prosciutto.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crispy, the cheese melted, and the prosciutto crisped.
While the ‘Za is in the oven, make your salad by tossing the spinach, red onion, dried cherries and pears together with the lemon poppyseed dressing to taste – I actually did the pears early and tossed then in the dressing to marinate them a bit and to keep them from turning brown.
Top the ‘Za with the salad, remove to a cutting board (never cut on your pizza pan or stone), slice and serve.
We had ours with a nice Côtes du Rhône and were most well pleased.