Friday, October 9, 2009

Garlic Scape Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

(for the dough; adapted from recipe first printed in Bon Appetit, August 1998)

3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon honey
1 envelope dry yeast
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

1) Place 3/4 cup warm water and honey in processor. Sprinkle yeast over; let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
2) Add flour, oil and salt. Process until dough forms.
3) Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
4) Transfer dough to large oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
5) Punch down dough. Divide into 2 equal balls.

WARNING: VERY FREE-FORM INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOW (APOLOGIES)

Now it gets creative.

Obviously this is garlic scape pizza, so here's what we did with the scapes themselves: chop scapes on the bias into 2-inch lengths. Heat olive oil in a wide skillet until shimmering. Add scapes, with salt and pepper to taste, and saute over med-high heat until the skins are slightly browned and the scapes are cooked through. (When they're done, they are going to resemble the consistency of sauteed green beans or asparagus--5-7 minutes should be enough, depending on thickness.)

What do they taste like? When they're raw, they taste like garlic. When cooked, they're very sweet, like a caramelized sweet shallot.

Delicious. They taste delicious.

When you're ready to roll out your pizza dough, you're going to want to put a pizza stone in the oven (very important--maybe if you didn't have one, you could stick a gigantic cast iron skillet or some really heavy quarry tiles in there?) and preheat it to 500 degrees (if 550 is your highest setting, go for broke). Rolling out the dough is good fun, and you're going to want to do it on a breadboard scattered with a good amount of semolina flour or cornmeal.

It's all about the toppings with pizza, obviously. The first dough ball we used got covered with:

drizzled extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated manchego
6 thinly sliced garden baby Roma tomatoes
sprinkled parmesan
sauteed scapes
salt and pepper
(finished with chiffonade of fresh basil)

Second dough ball:

drizzled extra virgin olive oil
big dollops of Boursin garlic and herb cheese
sauteed scapes
dried thyme
red pepper flake
sprinkled parmesan
(finished with chiffonade of fresh basil)

Further instructions (throughout the course of these steps, you should be drinking beer):

1) When the first pizza is dressed, carefully scoot the dough onto a semolina-lined rimless nonstick cookie sheet or pizza peel (if you have one).
2) Line up the far edge of your peel or baking sheet with the far edge of your stone or tiles or maybe a huge cast iron pan if you're very adventurous, and tilt peel or baking sheet, jerking it gently to start pizza moving. Once edge of pizza touches stone or tiles, carefully pull back peel or baking sheet, completely transferring pizza to stone or tiles or your crazy-big cast iron (do not move pizza).
3) Bake pizza 6 to 7 minutes, or until dough is crisp and browned, and transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board.
4) Immediately move your second pizza onto your semolina-sprinkled "device," slide it into the oven onto your other "contraption," and close oven door.
5) Turn around.
6) You should find your first pizza in front of you, sitting on a cutting board near your beer. Sprinkle with fresh basil. During the next 6 to 7 minutes, eat it up.
7) Get your second pizza out of the oven and place onto the now-cleared cutting board.
8) Find your beer. Turn off the oven (it's very hot). Sprinkle fresh basil over your second pizza. Eat it up.

THE BEER:

Let's talk about Sixpoint Craft Ales for a second. Why? Because they're awesome. And local. (For us.)

When Gabe and I first moved to NYC, we were already rabidly slavering beer nerdlings who had tried so many obscure brews that we were ecstatic to sample local East Coast fare. Unfortunately, some of it tasted less like microbrew and more like malts filtered through a fermented fireman's sock with hops maybe waved around in the air nearby it as it conditioned (you know who you are). Then we started chatting it up with other lunatic beer dorks, as beer dorks are wont to do, and discovered that apart from the nationally known Brooklyn Brewing Company, there was another "Brooklyn" brewing company: Sixpoint Craft Ales.

Already, we liked the name more. Excellent. Off to a good start.

But it only gets better. Sixpoint refers to its Brooklynite craftsmen in its website as a part of a larger "community of artists" unable to "resist the magnetic pull of [Brooklyn's] natural and urban beauty" who "take what we know, what we like, and what we aspire to be, and create our own style."

EPIC.

You are unlikely to be sipping a Sixpoint just now, unless you are the sort of person who possesses an NYC MTA card instead of a car. They don't distribute in bottles, and they don't send their drafts far afield. But hereabouts we can get growlers of the stuff at Whole Foods, which is a lovely ornament to life, liberty, and the pursuit of quality brew.

Specifically, drink the Brownstone with a slice of pizza in your hand when you get a chance. Make a point of doing so. Sixpoint Brownstone is an American Brown Ale style, 5.7 ABV, with a sweet, rich, cocoa-caramel nose and a brilliant dark mahogany color. The ample piney hops are so perfectly integrated with the roasted-pecan tones and the faintly molasses-tinged malt sweetness that you will do a merry beer jig and demand another glass. Great carbonation for a brown, too, and it tastes so much like home-baked bread that you really don't NEED the slice of pizza in your other hand...but have it anyway. Live large.

THE SCAPES:

I recently learned off the Google on the interweb that scapes and roses are friends. Isn't that odd? Apparently they're "companion" plants, which means they grow better when planted in close proximity and are allowed to hold hands and have tea parties and watch the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice with martinis at their...elbows. Anyway, I'm going to pretend that this post is remotely seasonal by saying that if you want to grow garlic scapes in your garden...THE TIME IS NOW! Hooray for autumn, and the ideal time to plant your wee little garlic bulbs.

Here's how to do it, in a nice, detailed report from Boundary Garlic Farm.

Reasons to plant your own garlic:

1) You get to eat garlic scapes, the tender fronds of the garlic plant. This is reason enough. Stop reading and go plant garlic.
2) Most of the garlic eaten in the Unites States comes from China. That's ridiculous. Seriously, how much fossil fuel is that using? Foolish. Grow your own.
3) The plant looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. People will talk about it--and you, by proxy, as an intriguing and dangerous individual.
4) The garlic scape will give your roses backrubs and talk about their sex lives over macchiatos and invite them over for holidays.
5) I'm doing it! I'm doing it! Peer pressure! I might even buy them roses.
6) It's very difficult, in some parts of the country, to find garlic scapes at the grocery store. PROBLEM SOLVED.

2 comments:

Timothy said...

Hmmm...Mr. Two Boxes above me had a lot to say about your recipe, Lyndz. He even threw in some impressive numbers to make his yearly earnings that more impressive. I hope he gets big business in the coming months!

Timothy said...

On top of that, I really, really, really, really want to make a meal if we can find time in January. Now let me type in the word verification: dersanc...