Pizza was one of the first things I learned to make as a kid. I don’t come from an Italian family, but it was an easy way to feed four boys and a father who worked as a contractor. There are many great introductory skills one can gain by learning how to make pizza: basic dough making/kneading/baking, chopping vegetables, shredding cheese.
Since finding John at Gold Forest Grains and his wonderful heritage grains, freshly milled on the farm, my pizzas have never tasted better or had a better texture. When combined with the fine cold pressed canola oil from Sean and Emily at Mighty Trio Organics, my pizza dough is now something special. The only trick, which many cooks have lost, is to work with the uniqueness of a heritage grain. A recipe is a guide for this, but ultimately, the nature of true whole meal heritage wheat flour means you have to fine tune your water or flour as you knead to achieve the soft texture required.
With my latest pizza, I was inspired by a recent product I tried while working at Ocean Odyssey Inland: Candied Smoked Tuna. Normally I take the Italian approach and never pair fish with anything that has cheese, but I found with the bold flavour of a hot smoked fish, I thought it would stand up to a good quality aged gouda.
Candied Smoked Tuna Pizza
For the dough:
1 cup Gold Forest Grains soft wheat flour
2 cups Gold Forest Grains Park wheat flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 to 1-1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1 tsp Coal Lake Honey Farms mixed flower honey
6 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
Preheat oven to 220C/450F.
In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water, yeast, honey and oil. Stir the yeast mixture in the middle of the well in the flour and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast goes frothy and bubbly. Work the flour into the active yeast mixture and turn out on to the counter. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding water if the mixture is too dry and a bit of flour if the dough is too wet. When the dough has been kneaded adequately into a soft, smooth dough, place in a oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place (I put it next to my preheated oven) for an hour.
For the toppings:
100g(1/4 lb) Candied smoked albacore tuna, torn into rough strips
9-10 Edgar Farms asparagus spears, cut in half
2 medium Doefs bell peppers (yellow, red or orange)
1/2 medium Doefs eggplant, cut into 2 cm/1″ dice (pan roasted in 2 tsp oil for 5-7 minutes until browned)
1/4 cup Sylvan Star herb and garlic gouda, shredded
3/4 cup Sylvan Star Grizzly aged gouda, shredded
1/4 cup tomato paste + 1/4 cup milk + 2 Tbsp fresh chives + 1/2 tsp dried chilli (for sauce)
1/2 cup Greens Eggs and Ham shungiku (or other baby green like arugula)
On a small baking sheet lay out the asparagus spears and bell peppers, drizzle with 1 or 2 tsp of oil and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven to cool, placing the roasted peppers in a bag to steam off the skin.
Stir together the tomato paste, milk, chives, and dried chillis in a small bowl for the sauce and set aside.
Peel the roasted peppers and tear into rough 1cm(1/2″) wide strips. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen for an hour, divide into two equal sized balls of dough. Invert a baking sheet so the bottom of the pan is facing upward. Lightly oil the baking sheet and stretch one ball of dough until about 1cm(1/2″) thick. Place the stretched dough on the inverted, oiled baking sheet, spread with 2-3 Tbsp of the prepared tomato sauce. Lay out lengths of roasted asparagus and peppers evenly over the sauce. Dot with chunks of pan-roasted eggplant and strips of shredded candied smoked tuna. Tear over the shungiku evenly and top with the shredded cheeses. Repeat with the other ball of dough and the remaining ingredients on another pan. Bake the pizzas on the middle or upper racks for 10-12 minutes, turning the pan half way through the baking process, until deeply golden in colour. Makes 2-25cm(10″) pizzas. Serves 3-4.
Candied Smoked Tuna Pizza with roasted asparagus, peppers, eggplant, greens and gouda.