Even though I repeat this to myself, I am not obsessed with Jim Lahey. Today’s evidence shows that I am not obsessed with Jim Lahey …”.
It’s not only me. Nearly two years after he created his no-knead loaf, I see food blogs making new and delicious adaptations. The same thing happened in the cab’s back seat several months ago. He showed off his Pizza Bianca to the cameras. It took me a lot of restraint not to ask the driver to take me straight to the Sullivan Street Bakery.
Once my hunt for his written recipe began, I unearthed all sorts of additional goodies, including the fact that he was opening a pizza place> in MY neighborhood (still plywood after all of these months, I wait and sigh…) and that he wished to throw down the tomato-and-mozzarella hegemony in U.S. pizza, as tomatoes are not even indigenous to Italy, replacing it with what NYMag described as a “frilly radicchio number with red onion, chiles, and three cheeses that looks like a nest built by a slightly deranged bird,” and a seasonal zucchini blossom one. I’m sorry, what was I talking about again? Can’t speak, drooling…
I have learned so far that there are many things to consider.
The stalking of a person When I was researching Jim Lahey and his Potato Pizza, one of the songs that would have made a great soundtrack is a reporter screaming “Stop The Presses!” or a needle tearing across a vinyl record.
The problem was that I discovered this recipe just a day before our vacation, and it was impossible to fit in the time we had left to pack and run errands. Alex talked me out of my Crazy Ledge temporarily, and I could go on vacation. After we returned home, I discovered the most beautiful thing: The Whole Foods near us now sells slices of Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca. It was done in a flash! Just like that! It was all there!
We baked it until it was toasty. Oh, people. Heaven on a flatbread. It might be the glint of the Mona Lisa. I now know why birds sing… and it was time to create my own.
The recipe I found on Martha Stewart’s website is full of errors. The water level will make the batter and not the dough. The second rise of the bread is not mentioned. My many sample pieces have shown that it is not valid. It seems to believe that you can bake 1/2-inch pizzas at 440 degrees and for 30 minutes without removing anything but a burned cracker.
We enjoyed the result, even with all the adjustments I made – some I did as I went – but it didn’t live up to the original (not that it would have, with the Mona Lisa and the singing bird). This might require some tweaking. What a disappointment, huh? More potato pizza. Life is so unfair.
Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza
Makes two 8-inch pizzas or one 14-inch pizza
3 cups all-purpose flour
Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of cold water
Olive oil for pans and bowls
Instant Dry Yeast, 1 Tsp.
Two potatoes thinly sliced, about 2 cups [I used Yukon Golds, and I think this is also what Lahey uses]
Half an onion diced into pieces of 1/4 to 1/2 inch
Extra virgin olive oil, four tablespoons
Fresh rosemary is optional
Add 1 cup of cold water and mix slowly. Mix ingredients on low speed until they begin to mix. Switch to the dough hook, and continue mixing for 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rest for two to four hours until its size doubles. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log. Each log should be placed on a floured surface and rest for at least an hour.
As the dough rises for a second time, repair the potato topping. Use a mandoline or a knife to slice potatoes thinly. After soaking them in ice water, rinse and repeat several times to remove any excess starch. Slices can be drained in a colander and tossed with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 10 min. Drain all water that has accumulated. Combine potatoes, onions, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Oil two baking sheets with a rim. Divide the dough in half. Each piece should be placed on its baking tray. Use your palms to flatten the dough until it reaches the edge of the pan. Spread potatoes evenly over the top of the dough, up to the edge, or 1 inch away if you want a crust. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of olive oil. If using rosemary, sprinkle with it.
Bake the potato pizza for about 20 minutes or until the edges have shrunk and the bottom is golden. Allow to cool a little, then slice and serve. The potato pizza is delicious at room temperature.