Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the most delicious pizza ever to have come out of my kitchen.
To paraphrase Muhammad Ali:
It is the GREATEST!
And I speak as someone who has heretofore been totally unimpressed by potato pizzas. I totally understood the appeal – who doesn’t love a little carb-on-carb action? But to me they always just tasted like steamed potatoes on bread. The potatoes always tasted so…potato-y. Which I love, just not on my pizza.
But then…then my friends, I read the gospel according to Tartine. And in this magnificent book they had a technique for making potato pizza that was so cool, it had even me thinking I have GOT to try that.
It’s all in the way you prepare the potatoes, baby. First, instead of thick-ish slices, the Tartine potatoes are wafer thin. Like, translucent. They achieved this using a mandoline; I achieved it using a potato peeler. The peeler method is pretty straight forward. First, you peel the suckers and discard the skin, and then you JUST KEEP PEELING. It gets old fast, but it doesn’t take too long, and it’s worth it.
Secondly, you salt the potatoes and leave them to sit. This draws out all the excess water from potatoes – they are 80% water after all. Once that excess water has been drawn out, you squeeze ’em to get every last drop of moisture that you can out of those dang potatoes. And then – this is the genius part – you replace the water with a marinade of thyme leaves, cracked pepper and olive oil.
On the dough, I’m afraid to say I deviated from the Tartine recipe. I wanted pizza today, you see, and did not have several weeks to build a natural leaven. So this is my trusty pizza dough recipe, and I can guarantee it won’t let you down. On a warm day, it will take 45 minutes from start to finish, and it is super easy and versatile.
It is quite a wet dough, so after it has rise, I just scoop it right out onto a lined baking sheet, and then wet my hands and spread and push the dough out into the corners. It’s a weirdly satisfying and fun process – and less mess than rolling out with flour. BONUS!
Once the dough is pushed out, you simply strew your olive oil-marinated potatoes over the top of the dough, and you bake your pizza in a hot oven for 30 minutes. During which time your house will fill with the smell of roasting potatoes and bread baking. You’re welcome.
When your pizza is golden and baked, you throw over a smattering fresh thyme, sea salt, and some shaved parmesan or vintage cheddar on the top, and it’s time to eat.
In every bite you get a crispy shattering piece of potato chip; a thin, olive oil scented layer of creamy, herby potato; a salty hit of cheese and thyme; all held together by chewy, crunchy-edged pizza dough.
Like I said – this is the best pizza I’ve ever made. PLEASE, PLEASE try it. It’s amazing.
Potato and Thyme Pizza
A recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit, inspired by Tartine Bakery.
Makes one large 9 x 13 inch pizza.
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups (375 g) plain or bread flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
1 sachet (7 g) dried active yeast
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) warm water
For the topping:
2 large baking potatoes (like sebago or yukon gold)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (65 ml) olive oil
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
A hard cheese, such as parmesan or vintage cheddar, some sea salt and additional thyme leaves, to serve
First, make the dough. It couldn’t be easier. Simply dump all the ingredients at once into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it comes together, and then on a medium speed until it looks silky and begins to climb the dough hook. It is quite a wet dough, and it will stick to the bowl – no worries, just cover the whole thing with cling and set it aside for 30 minutes in a warm place, up to an hour if it’s very cold, or until the dough doubles in size.
To make the potato topping, you need to peel the potatoes and then slice them wafer thin. For this, you have options. If you have a mandoline, or a food processor with a VERY THIN slicing attachment, I suggest you use those for ease. If not, then like me, you can simply use a potato peeler to make wafer-thin peelings out of your potatoes. You might have to leave a bit behind when they get small, but that’s ok, and the shape of the pieces doesn’t matter. Now place the potatoes into a colander with a pinch of salt, and leave for 20 minutes. Now is a good time to turn your oven on to preheat to 225C (440F).
If you’ve worked quickly, your dough should be risen, and your potatoes finished draining at about the same time. Now, squeeze those potatoes to get out all the juice, and then toss them together with the thyme, olive oil and pepper. Next, dump out the dough onto a lined baking sheet, wet your hands and spread the dough out evenly to all the corners. Strew the marinaded potatoes over the dough, and then bake for 30 minutes, or until the whole thing is golden brown and crispy. Serve strewn with shaved cheese, a smattering of sea salt (not much) and some spare fresh thyme. Tuck in!