Tuesday, December 15, 2009
POTATO-LEEK PIZZA WITH BACON
Oh, yum. I spotted this why-didn’t-I-think-of-it recipe in Pioneer Woman’s brand-new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I love her humor and her tantalizing concoctions (accompanied by dazzling step-by-step photographs), even though they’re a bit richer and heavier than I’d usually cook for our little Southern Californian household of two, one of whom has a petite appetite and the other of whom hunches over a computer in a cubicle all day instead of performing grueling, calorie-burning ranch labor on the wide-open prairie. (Really, the only other PW recipes I’ve actually made are the fabulous ranch dressing and oatmeal-jam bars.) But this twist on the iconic flavor combination of potatoes and leeks, with some bacon thrown in, sounded too good to pass up—and you know how I love pizza.
It was fully as delicious as it sounded. The only real changes I made were to omit the goat cheese (because even though I keep on trying it, I just don’t like goat cheese), and halved the amount of mozzarella (because a pound is a lot of cheese). I can see that the goat cheese would add a zippier flavor, and if I’d had some asiago or Gruyere, I might have thrown a bit on there, but we both loved it plenty well as is. If I were making this just for myself, I might have reduced the bacon (to, say, 4 slices) and increased the leeks (to at least 4), but A was horrified when I mentioned it the idea (if anything, he wanted more bacon and fewer leeks—but then, this is the man who got bacon chocolate chip cookies for Valentine’s day, and he doesn’t share my adulation for leeks). So we’ll just keep that ratio the way it’s written.
Tips: Do be sure to use fresh mozzarella, because you need the moisture it provides, and do be sure to slice the potatoes paper-thin. This is the only potato pizza recipe I’ve tried where the potatoes aren’t cooked beforehand, and while that does make things easier, I worried the whole time about ending up with crunchy potatoes, especially since I’d sliced them by hand (a mandoline seems useful, but so very sharp and scary, and where would I keep it?). In the end, while the potatoes were not raw as I’d feared, they did have a bit more bite than usual. I liked the chewy, slightly al dente texture that resulted, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted them any less cooked than that. So keep ’em thin!
1 pound pizza dough
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
3 leeks, rinsed well to remove grit and thinly sliced
5 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough on a baking sheet, drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle it lightly with salt.
2. In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until cooked but not completely crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the skillet. Return it to the stove and, over medium-low heat, saute the leeks until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the leeks from the heat and set aside.
3. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the potatoes very thin. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt, then lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer on top. Place the leeks on top of the cheese, then sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top. Add a generous dose of grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of pepper.
4. Bake 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Good