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Pizza Chronicles, Part Six (or Eight): Stonewall Kitchen and a Pizza Stone

July 3, 2007

Look at that crust!

I luuurve our pizza stone. I’ve never had such crazy, impassioned feelings for a kitchen implement before, but this is true and lasting love. This is neverending devotion and infatuation. This pizza stone is the answer, the solution to all of my dough baking woes, to my not quite perfect crusts and my constant feelings of pizza dissatisfaction. Now that there is a pizza stone in my life, I can scale the peaks of pizza perfection, I can create crispy cheesy bites of wonder and glory rivaling anything the local pizza delivery man can send my way. My dreams of creative pizza experimentation can be realized.

Ok, I might be waxing just a bit too poetical, but when I pulled this pizza out of the oven last night, I couldn’t help feeling a little thrill in my heart. It was, yes, the best pizza so far. I realize I say that every single time, but I also take that to be a sign that my methods are improving. And method, shmethod, the single best pizza improver so far is the pizza stone.

Of course, there were other things that made this pizza so super spectacular, and I’m sad to say that one of them had nothing to do with me. In the back of the refrigerator I found a jar of Stonewall Kitchen‘s Rosemary Balsamic Sauce. The wheels in my head were immediately turning around and around, and I decided this would be excellent on pizza, with some chicken and fontina cheese. And I was right.

Sadly, I can’t find the Rosemary Balsamic sauce on their website. Have they discontinued it? Will I ever be able to find it again? How did it even get into our refrigerator in the first place? Was it a gift from the magic fridge fairy? Whatever it was, it was delicious. They created the perfect tangy sweet blend of rosemary, tomatoes, and vinegar, and I can’t think of a higher calling for this sauce than to be on a perfect, crispy pizza.

The other factor that brought us to pizza perfection last night was a long, long, long dough fermentation period. I used the leftover aish bel lahm dough, which had been in the freezer for about a week, and then thawed in the refrigerator for a week. I was a little worried that it would be no good, but instead it was perfect. The sugars in the dough caramelized and browned up perfectly. The flavors had developed a bit more complexity. I still found it a bit undersalted, but the texture was everything pizza is meant to be, and it was very, very easy to roll out and flatten into pizza shape, even without a rolling pin.

Slice

So how did I concoct this bit of pizza perfection? It was really insanely easy. The oven and stone preheated for 45 minutes at 525F. I brought the dough to room temperature (also took about 45 minutes). I pan-seared a boneless skinless chicken breast in about one tablespoon of canola oil, for four minutes on one side and two or three minutes on the other, let them rest for a few minutes on a cutting board, and then sliced them into bite-sized bits. I tossed the chicken with about a cup of the Rosemary Balsamic sauce, and then spread it evenly over the rolled out dough. I topped it all with about a cup of grated fontina cheese, and it went into the oven for nine minutes. Once it came out, I sprinkled a bit of grated parmesan and some salt over it, and let it rest for about ten minutes.

Then we ate it and were very, very happy. This one will definitely make its way into the pizza hall of fame.

As for the Rosemary Balsamic sauce, I’m going to have to attempt to make it on my own since it appears Stonewall Kitchen no longer does. All I have is a list of ingredients, and plenty of time to experiment. And my fingers crossed.

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