I am not ashamed to admit it publicly: I’m a Solanum tuberosum freak. Yep. Lock me up and throw away the key to the pantry. In other words, I’m a potato fanatic. I wave my freak flag high and proud. I worship all sizes and shapes of this seductive tuber. In fact, so deep goes my freakiness for the starchy little fellows that I have, on many occasions, eaten for dinner nothing but a big-ass bowl of mashed potatoes. (And, yes, I’m well aware of all the big-ass references you’re probably thinking of that can be inserted here, but I’d happily risk your sniggers than be less than my true, unadulterated self.)
Sometimes I do make a concession to dietary diversity and add other food stuffs for a well-rounded meal, such as sour cream (dairy) and chives (vegetables) to baked potatoes or eggs (dairy and protein) to sauteed potato slices for a potato frittata. I’ve even gone all leafy-green vegetarian on myself and stirred sauteed spinach or Swiss Chard into my bowl of sexy, tuberous goodness.
My latest obsession is potato pizza. The recette du moment that I’m hooked on contains no tomato sauce (one less nutritional source, I know) but makes up for that with bacon. And, as I’m sure you know, add bacon—a food group unto itself—to anything, and it suddenly catapults the dish up the slippery slope of the food pyramid, besting fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Just ask Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, President Obama’s Surgeon General nominee. (One look at ole ‘Gina, and you know she worships at the altar of bacon, bless her heart.)
I’ve been serving this pizza since summer, when it made its debut at a casual dinner hosted by our friend artist Gary Komarin in Roxbury, CT. I brought along a few pies, and they were gone in no time. Everyone weighed in with their comments (apparently, when it comes to pizza, everyone’s a critic), but I got the greatest idea from Gary’s neighbor Candace Busnell, of Sex in the City, Lipstick Jungle, and One Fifth Avenue fame. “Top it with a fried egg and you have breakfast.”
Needless to say, with my number one desire always being to round out my diet and eat as healthfully as possible, I did just that the next morning. Of course, I added a drizzle of white truffle oil. You can never have enough vegetables.
This potato-bacon pizza is quite perfectly delicious on its own, but top it with a fried egg and it becomes a satisfying supper or an unexpected breakfast.–David Leite
LC An Egg Atop Note
Let’s be frank. Perch an egg atop anything and it becomes something special, whether we’re talking pizza or Vietnamese leftovers or just a plain baked potato. Words to live by….
Potato-Bacon Pizza Recipe
Hands-On Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
- For the pizza dough
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/3 cups warm water (110°F/45°C)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more, if needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Coarse cornmeal, for dusting
- For the toppings
- 1 1/4 pounds (about 6 to 8) egg-size yellow potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (I like Carola)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 pound slab bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Make the pizza dough
- 1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a small bowl and let stand until the yeast has gorged itself and the liquid is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- 2. Dump the flour, oil, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir on low to moisten the ingredients, then bump up the speed to medium and knead until the dough is supple and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add more flour a bit at a time if needed.
- 3. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- 4. Position a rack to the middle of the oven, slide in a baking stone or an upside-down baking sheet, and crank the heat to 550°F (290°C). Generously dust a pizza peel or a rimless cookie sheet with cornmeal and set aside.
- Prepare the topping
- 5. While the dough is rising, pour 1 inch of water into a medium pot, fit it with a steamer insert, and lay the potato slices on top. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Steam the potato slices until just tender, about 10 minutes.
- 6. Carefully lift out the slices using a fork and transfer them to paper towels to cool.
- 7. Heat the oil in medium skillet over medium-low heat until it shimmers. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meaty bits are crispy-chewy, about 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Reserve any bacon fat in the pan to drizzle on the pizza, if you’d like. (And admit it: who doesn’t?)
- Assemble and bake the pizza
- 8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Place 3 in the fridge, and roll the fourth on a lightly floured surface into a 12-to-14-inch oval using a floured rolling pin. Slip the dough onto the peel and cover with one-quarter of the mozzarella. Lay one-quarter of the potato slices in rows across the pizza, scatter over some of the bacon bits, and sprinkle with one-quarter of the Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese. Spritz the top with some of the rosemary and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle the exposed edges of the pizza with some of the bacon fat, making sure it doesn’t drip down the sides onto the peel, otherwise the pizza won’t slide off easily.
- 9. Position the peel at the far edge of the baking stone and in one smooth motion pull it toward you, leaving the pizza on the stone. Bake until the edges are deeply golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and wait several minutes before slicing crosswise. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
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Potato-Bacon Pizza Recipe © 2009 David Leite. Photo © 2009 David Leite. All rights reserved.