No need to get saucy!

Potato Bacon Pizza

Before fully immersing myself in holiday baking, I figured I’d do a non-cookie, non-cake, non-pie post — a pre-holiday recipe cleanse, if you will.
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I’ve rhapsodized at length about my 9″ cast iron skillet before, so I shan’t bore you all again with my Ode to a Crisp Crust (see this post for full musical score).  The tl;dr version of my previous dissertation is that baking your pizza in a large cast iron skillet gives you all the benefits of a pizza stone without any of the hassle.  All you need is your trusty cast iron skillet and a screaming hot oven.

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The crust for this recipe is super simple, and there’s no risky dough tossing needed.  You don’t even need to roll it out!  It’s so malleable that you can just press it into your pan and it keeps it’s shape.  If you’re not into the whole whole-wheat thing, that’s cool, just use all all-purpose flour instead, I won’t tell.  I just like to balance out the bacon with something wholesome (à la a double cheeseburger with a diet Coke or a mini skirt with a grandma sweater).  Balance, my friends.

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This pizza is a sauceless pizza, but it still packs plenty of flavor and is by no means dry.  It’s the perfect way to process those bags of potatoes that are just too darn big for two people to consume before they start sprouting.  And yes, there’s bacon involved. Any complaints?  Didn’t think so.

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This recipe is great for a busy weeknight since the pizza assembly is actually relatively quick.  The ingredients are all pretty standard, which further adds to its weeknight appeal.  The last thing I need on a Thursday is a recipe that calls for Prosciutto di Parma or tamarind paste — not that I have anything against such ingredients, I just don’t routinely keep them in stock.

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Potato Bacon Pizza

Whole Wheat Crust:
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour + plus a smidge more for shaping
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Pizza Toppings:
4 small yellow potatoes, scrubbed & mandolin-sliced into thin rounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 strips bacon
1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup grated parmesan-romano blend (or just plain parm)
Prepare Crust:  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar, and all-purpose flour.  Add warm water, and mix until smooth.  Let sit 10 minutes.  Add whole wheat flour and salt, and use dough hook to knead dough for 10 minutes — dough should be wet and sticky.  Place the olive oil in a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet, swirling pan until bottom of pan and 1/2″ up the sides are completely covered.  Sprinkle cornmeal over the oil.  Scrape dough into the middle of the prepared skillet, and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, or, alternatively, you can transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator overnight to use the following day (just allow the dough to come back to room temp before attempting to handle it).
Make Pizza:  Preheat oven to 440 degrees farenheit.
Sprinkle top of dough will a little more flour, and use your hands to press dough into a circle that completely fills the pan and goes up the sides a bit, burping out the air bubbles as you press [such a satisfying process!].
Soak potato slices in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.  Drain, then cover with new cold water for another 5 minutes.  Drain potatoes again, place on a paper-towel lined plate, and sprinkle with salt.  Wait 10 minutes, then blot the potatoes with more paper towels [Goal = remove as much excess moisture as is humanly possible].
Cook bacon in a medium skillet, and allow crispy strips to drain on a paper towel, reserving drippings in pan.  Fry onion in bacon drippings until softened and caramelized.
Arrange potato slices in a single layer over the prepared pizza dough.  Use a heat-safe pastry brush to brush potato tops with any residual bacon grease left over from onion frying [don’t waste this liquid gold!].  Sprinkle sage, garlic powder, pepper, and nutmeg over potatoes.  Crumble bacon over potatoes, and distribute caramelized onions over the top.  Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove skillet from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to free the pizza from the pan (shouldn’t really be stuck at all because of the cornmeal and oil) and transfer to a wire cooling rack to preserve your beautifully crisp bottom-crust.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve!

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