There are two things to remember about making pizza, aside from the crust, you must remember that it’s all about the toppings. The second? Make sure you aren’t stingy with the toppings. Actually, there’s a third: ask Adam what to do. Adam is very particular about his pizza and this one was, well, ok. I really liked it, but I as it turns out I didn’t make it quite right. I most definitely did not use enough toppings, and most decidedly not only not enough cheese, I blasphemously sprinkled it on top of the prosciutto and watercress instead of below where it would have created a nice goopy base for everything to stick to.
Don’t get me wrong, Adam is very diplomatic, and joyfully ate said pizza, but when pressed, he gently revealed that it wasn’t, well, quite right. Of course, now the quest has begun and, dammit, I’m going to make Adam the perfect pizza.
Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Prosciutto, Watercress and Mystery Cheese
Ok, well, not exactly a mystery. I had a few unlabeled chunks of cheese that I decided to use instead of buying more cheese. Pretty sure I used Comte and a young Manchego. Feel free to use whatever cheese you happen to have on hand.
What you’ll need~
Cornmeal pizza dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more, if necessary
1 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting
One bunch fresh watercress, torn or clipped from stems
2-3 thin slices of prosciutto
One thinly sliced shallot
Cheese of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl blend yeast, water and sugar. Stir and set aside for five minutes.
Add salt, olive oil and half of the flour and mix well.
Add 1 cup of cornmeal and all but 1/2 cup of the remaining flour and use your hand to mix well.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot in your kitchen for about 2 hours.
If you have a pizza stone, place it in your oven and preheat to 500 degrees. I don’t have a pizza stone (yet!) so I used an oiled baking sheet. Be sure to use an oil that can tolerate high heat, like coconut oil. Otherwise you’ll have a smoky kitchen to deal with. Trust me.
Divide the dough into two portions (I froze the second ball for future use) and form into balls. Place dough balls on your oiled baking sheet, cover with a damp towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Place dough back on lightly floured surface and press and, using a rolling-pin, roll out to a shape of your choice.
Place dough back on baking sheet drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with toppings and salt and pepper.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through.