Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chorizo and Arugula Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet

Chorizo and Arugula Pizza

Chorizo and Arugula Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet

In my home, Friday night is pizza night! We enjoy time together as a family, unwind from the week's hectic schedule, and enjoy simple finger foods. The kids love pizza, and I love making something quick. When you discover how quick this is, you'll say goodbye to frozen pizzas. Once you have all your pizza ingredients ready to go, you'll be able to have a pizza in the hands of your natives in 10 to 15 joke! There is one requirement for your impending creation; a cast iron skillet.

To make the preparation of the pizza go even faster, buy your dough at your local supermarket or Trader Joe's or use your connections with your beloved pizzaria...they might be willing to part with their dough. If you are using store bought dough, follow the instructions for when to remove the dough from the fridge. I usually take it out 20 to 30 minutes prior, so that the dough has time to relax. This makes the dough much easier to work with. Or, if you have a bread machine, kick off your dough during the day. I have fallen in love with my Black & Decker All-In-One Deluxe Automatic Breadmaker all over again. I place all the ingredients into the baking pan and, voila', I have dough. You can also make your dough according to any recipe you want to try or cherish. Regardless, have dough that is ready to be worked.

To have pizza done in a snap, preparation is key. This recipe is for Chorizo and Arugula pizza, however, feel free to use any toppings that tease your taste buds with delight. This is a pizza for you to enjoy, so feel free to make it your own. I'm sharing a technique that delivers results.

  • Pizza dough
  • Sweet Onions, sliced. (such as Vidalia onion)
  • Pizza Sauce (I really like Lucini's Pizza Sauce which I pick up at Whole Foods, but your favorite sauce will be just fine)
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Chorizo (I used a spicier one purchased at Whole Foods from the butcher. Simply remove the chorizo from its casing and saute in a skillet til cooked through.)
  • Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • Baby Arugula

1. Preheat oven to 500F. (Make sure the oven is very clean, or it will smoke at this high temperature.)

2. Roll out the dough to about the size of the skillet. Brush Olive Oil onto the skillet. Place rolled out dough onto the skillet. Use your hand to shape the dough onto the skillet.

Next, I like to flavor my crust by brushing it with olive oil and sprinkling with a little garlic salt. Feel free to use butter or your favorite spices.

3. Heat the skillet to med-high heat. Use a spatula to lift the dough and check the bottom. It should be heated to a golden color which takes about 3 minutes or so. Dough bubbles may appear as it cooks on the skillet and that is fine. Watch it so it doesn't burn.

 4. Layer a light amount of tomato sauce onto the pizza dough.

Then, layer the cheese and previously cooked chorizo (or toppings of your choice with the exception of Arugula or herbs. I always place those last, after baking.)

5. After toppings are placed onto pizza, brush a little more olive oil onto the crust. Then, place the entire skillet into the center rack of oven.

Bake the skillet for about 7 minutes. Check the pizza for  melted cheese and and for the crust to be golden and crisp. If making a cheese Pizza, heat til edges are golden brown. I suggest checking the pizza about a minute before until familiar with the results from your oven.

6. Once the cheese is melted, remove the skillet from the oven. BE CAREFUL, SKILLET HANDLE IS HOT (make sure to grab the skillet handle with a pot holder)!!! Next layer more delicate veggies; in this case, tomatoes and onions (sometimes, if I want a spicier pizza, I layer on JalapeƱo and sprinkle on a little "Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning). Place the skillet back into the oven and heat til edges get golden brown. This may take another 5 minutes or so.

7. After removing the pizza from the oven (again, handle is HOT, SO USE A POT HOLDER), I immediately place the Arugula by lightly tucking it onto the pizza. This is a good time to place any delicate herbs such as basil. It's just how I like to do it so they don't burn. I find the heat of the pizza works well with the Arugula to the point I'm happy and the presentation is better.

Have fun customizing your pizza to anyway you like. Since oven temps may vary, watch your pizza the first time to get the feel of your oven. Then, enjoy your pizza!

Buen Provecho,