Last month, I shared a corn bread recipe from the cookbook, “Cast-Iron Cooking with Sisters on the Fly” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2013) by Irene Rawlings.
Impressed with the results, I decided to experiment with deep-dish pizza, using Rawlings’ cast-iron recipe as the basis to create my own concoction.
I made some adaptations to the recipe, and, in the spirit of full disclosure, admit to skipping over the part of the recipe that calls for making my own dough. Hey, it was a Friday, and I didn’t have a couple hours to wait for the dough to rise. I did, however, have 15 minutes to swing by the grocery store on my way home from work to buy fresh dough.
My family is divided on pizza preferences. Two of us like veggie pies, while the others insist on meat toppings, so I always make two to accommodate everyone’s tastes. The best part of pizza is the versatility it provides, and oftentimes, the best creations are the product of forgotten fridge leftovers. Don’t forget to check the vegetable drawer.
Out of tomatoes or marinara sauce? I’ve used barbecue sauce, and topped with leftover grilled chicken and cheese for a tangy twist.
Or go Greek: Brush some herbs and olive oil over the crust, top with fresh spinach, garlic, black olives, feta cheese and tomato slices.
I created two 10-inch pizzas from one 16-ounce dough ball, and the result was a pie with a medium-chewy crust. For a thinner, crispier crust, try using less dough.
The pizza was met with rave reviews. The resident expert – my husband, whose grandmother’s legendary homemade can never be duplicated – insisted I make it again. The next day.
There were no leftovers.
Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza
Prepared pizza dough (or make your own)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella or 8 ounces fresh, chopped into small pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes or marinara sauce
Thinly sliced pepperoni
Preheat the broiler. Roll out dough to fit a 10- to- 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Place skillet over medium heat on stovetop, and add olive oil to hot skillet.
Carefully place dough into skillet. Using a wooden spoon, press edges of dough along sides of skillet. Cook until dough starts to bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and spread tomatoes over dough, leaving about a half-inch border. Top with cheese and pepperoni.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil until cheese is melted and top starts to brown. Remove from oven, taking care handling skillet, as cast iron will be extremely hot. Let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
I dropped by Beechie’s Place in Meadow Lands last week and learned that executive chef Lane McFarland will stage the third annual Iron Chef Competition on Sept. 28. This year, Lane will be going head-to-head with chef Jason Capps of Bella Sera, Canonsburg.
The chefs will prepare an appetizer, entrée, sandwich and dessert incorporating a predetermined secret ingredient in front of customers in the dining room. The secret ingredients will be decided in advance by the public, who will cast their votes at the restaurant, online and each restaurant’s Facebook pages. Customers who order from the Iron Chef Menu will rank the dishes on taste, presentation, use of the secret ingredient and originality. The winner will earn the coveted Iron Chef title and bragging rights for an entire year.
In the words of the Chairman, “Allez cuisine!”
Liz Rogers is editor of the Observer-Reporter. She can be reached at email@example.com/.