Turning to Spain (who just beat Portugal today to move on to the next round) on our tour of nations competing for the World Cup, we decided to use those flavors as a topping for what is maybe my favorite pizza ever. Okay, top three. Yes, pizza is Italian, especially when you make it with an amazing Neopolitan-style whole wheat crust. To make matters worse, we also used Fontina, an Italian cheese. But it is so good with mushrooms. And we're always after what tastes good around here, so there you go.
As for the crust, it looks like I've found my ultimate pizza dough recipe, at least for now. When I wrote about trying an overnight rise so the dough could develop greater flavor, I said I wanted to use this method with my whole wheat dough. It worked so well that I plan to do the overnight rise whenever I can. The whole wheat flour (in combination with bread flour) didn't have any negative effects, and I prefer some whole grain in my pizza dough rather than all white flour.
After doing it this way a couple times, I think the slow rise makes the dough incredibly airy. That, along with using your hands instead of a rolling pin to shape it, results in a higher rise during baking and and a tender, soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside finished crust. I love the texture.
I'm going to post the crust recipe on it's own tomorrow so it will be easy to find, but I'll also go back and link it to this post (update: see link to dough recipe below). If you're dying to try it right this second, however, just use your favorite pizza dough recipe and let it rise in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, then quickly knead it into a ball and bring it to room temperature before baking. See what you think!Sherry Mushroom Pizza
This recipe yields a generous amount of topping for a 12-inch pizza. You don't need to be too precise with the quantities while cooking, and it's fine to eyeball your measurements. You want a moist, slightly saucy consistency in the end. You can buy a bottle of good-tasting dry Sherry at liquor and wine stores for around $12. In this recipe, there is no substitute.
Makes one 12-inch pizza
Special Equipment: Parchment paper and a pizza stone
1 Tbs olive oil
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
6 oz Portobello mushrooms, sliced
Fat pinch of dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/4 cup reduced fat (or regular) sour cream
4 to 5 scallions, chopped
Coarse cornmeal (optional)
All-purpose flour, for shaping dough
1/2 recipe whole wheat pizza dough, at room temperature
4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
Place pizza stone on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 550F for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they release their water. Raise heat to medium high, add thyme and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until water evaporates. Lower heat and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add the sherry and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by a bit more than half. Add chicken and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add the sour cream and scallions, and stir well. You want a very moist, slightly saucy consistency, but mixture should not be watery.
Sprinkle some cornmeal (if using) on a sheet of parchment. Flatten and stretch dough with floured hands and shape into a roughly 12-inch circle (don’t use a rolling pin; it pushes air out of the dough, resulting in a flatter, denser crust). Top with chicken mixture and Fontina. Open the oven and slide parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until crust is browned and cooked through. Lift the pizza stone with oven mitts out of the oven and slide parchment onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with parsley, slice and serve.