Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Turkey Club Pizza

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I make a mean pizza. Friday nights are almost always pizza nights   chez Little Red Hen, and though sometimes that means Little Caesar's, most of the time that means I'm whipping something up. 

I'm still working towards the perfect pizza crust. There is something inexplicably difficult about getting the pizzeria flavor at home, even for me. I say this with a bit of  authority because my dad was in the pizza industry for over 20 years. We even owned and ran a pizza restaurant when I was in high school, so my friends and I spent a fair amount of time making pizza. It was the best. Even today if I'm making a pepperoni, you can bet I'm  counting out each of the 48 slices of pepperoni as I place them speedily on my pizza in a clockwise circular pattern.

The one consistent and critical key to good pizza is oven temperature. Keep it high, and preheat your pizza stone in the oven so that your crust begins to get that crunch the moment you place it on the stone. I also sprinkle cornmeal on my pizza stone before I put the dough on it. Not only does it smell beautiful when the corn hits the stone, but it also prevents the dough from sticking. 

I have about 4 pizza crust methods that I use on a regular basis. I've tried countless more using whole wheat, all-purpose, and bread flour. Today I'm going to share my easiest and quickest recipe, so obviously it is the one I make most often. It doesn't taste exactly like a pizzeria style crust, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in convenience. No special ingredients, no mixer required, and in 15 minutes you have a pizza, hot-n-ready.

My friend, Alicia, used to make these cute little cookbooks for Christmas, and this dough recipe comes from the first book she gave me. My husband tells me it is getting better and tastes more like pizza and less like bread, which from him, is a true compliment! (He's sort of a pizza snob, though I'm competing against Little Caesar's.) Really, I love how quick it is to pull this together! 

Oh! And this Turkey Club Pizza? I played around with this recipe and I think it is a win. You start with your basic tomato sauce and mozzarella, (copious amounts, please). Next, here's an idea for that left-over turkey you've got bagged in the freezer! Put it on this pizza! (Or use good quality deli turkey). Add large pieces of smokey chopped bacon and bake it until it is nice and bubbly. Throw onto that fresh, perky tomatoes and crisp, cold lettuce tossed with a mayo-pesto to get that club sandwich creaminess. Oh baby. This pizza will make you want to tie a sweater around your shoulders, take up golfing, and start calling your best friends Biff and Muffy!

Turkey Club Pizza

Yields 1 large pizza
Crust adapted slightly from the baker upstairs

Ingredients for Crust:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbs active quick rise yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • about 3 cups flour, more or less
  • 1 tbs cornmeal
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped turkey (leftover turkey is great!)
  • 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 4 cups (or more) chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs prepared pesto
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees with pizza stone in oven. If you don't have a pizza stone, use an overturned heavy cookie sheet. (But really, you'd love having a pizza stone...)
  2. In a large bowl, mix warm water yeast, sugar, and oil. 
  3. Mix in salt and flour with a heavy wooden spoon or your hands, adding the final cup of flour in degrees so that the the dough doesn't get too dry. Dough will seem rough.
  4. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead for about 1 minute, or until dough is smooth. Roll out into large circle, about the size of pizza stone.
  5. Remove pizza stone from oven. Quickly sprinkle with cornmeal and transfer rolled out dough to stone, adjusting if needed to make sure dough fits on stone.
  6. Spread pizza sauce, then cheese. Evenly spread turkey and bacon on pizza.
  7. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. 
  8. While pizza is baking, mix mayo with pesto. In a large bowl, toss lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo-pesto. 
  9. Remove pizza from oven. Immediately pour salad mix on top of pizza. Slice and serve.

Bake the bread. Share the slices. 

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