Monday, August 29, 2011

Pizza piegata

Toss a pizza, but don't put anything on it. Just slide it into the oven, bare. Naked crust meets hot oven, the end result can only be crispy, and that's the whole point. Four surfaces (top & bottom, folded), all tanned and crunchy. Not one like a pizza (bottom) or two like a calzone (top and bottom). Better yet, you can keep raw things raw. Like basil, or maybe smoked salmon, or sushi... nah. That would be strange. Although...

This piegata used finely diced onions, sautéed until transparent, mixed with some garlic, smoked sea salt, a bit of finely chopped uncured bacon and finely diced bell beppers from the garden. This mix then cooled while the cheese mix was prepared and the basil picked. We had some leftover blue cheese, so in it went, along with a generous amount of fresh goat cheese. Some roasted pine nuts joined the cheese. The basil got a chiffonnade and was set aside.

When the piegata came out of the oven, rippling with heat, half was immediately slammed with the diced cheese and pine nut mixture. Then the lukewarm onion/pepper mix, then the basil. The pie was folded in half, sliced, sprinkled with more basil, some olive oil, a dash of pecorino Romano and served.

There's no risk of a soggy layer under the ingredients here. Since the crust bakes separately from the toppings, there are four crispy layers: two bread-like layers and the filling in the middle.


Note: We made these in professional cooking, under the name "piagata". Curious, I searched the web for "piagatta" then "piagata" (one "t") to see who makes these and how they're prepared. No results. Nothing related to food anyway, although one dictionary said it was "something covered in sores". Not appetizing. Beurk!

I vote for a new name: pizza piegata, or simply piegata ("folded"). Better spell it right, though! Even better, pizza piegata actually yields culinary information when searched on the net, albeit mostly in Italian.

Some more digging revealed that folded pizzas are indeed served in the historic quarter of Naples, but they're called a libretto ("booklet") or a portafoglio ("wallet style"). Or maybe pizza a fazzoletto ("handkerchief"). With so many different names, I doubt anyone will mind me calling it piegata.