Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scacciata: Brooklyn Salumeria Pizza with a Rosemary Fra Diavolo Crust

A stuffed, Brooklyn Salumeria-style pizza

Growing up in New York State, you get used to certain aromas that waft through a neighborhood. On the corner of my old street in Brooklyn, was a century-old, Italian salumeria, where the barrels of different olives greeted you upon entering, and hanging overhead, were, what seemed like, hundreds of salami links, just hanging from the ceiling like air fresheners. The different aromas were very alluring and intoxicating.

If you are fortunate enough to have such a salumeria in your town, I suggest that this be the place you buy all your spices, olive oil, imported cheeses, prosciutto, grissini, etc.  If no such establishment exists in your town, it is well worth the drive to the next town.  Heck, I would walk  miles to get quality charcuterie!

This pizza I created, is a tribute to that old salumeria that I loved so much. The crust is crisp and rich with a garlic-olive oil, perfumed with fresh rosemary, and strikes just the right balance of heat from the chili pepper flakes. The smoked provolone cheese offers just the right amount of smokiness that compliments the salami, but the flavored crust is definitely the star of the show. And, as anyone in Brooklyn will tell you, it's all about the crust!

This is, definitely, a pizza with a strong conviction. The passions and flavors of the Italian salumeria are successfully translated through this rustic pie.

Rosemary & pepper flakes add depth to the crust
  • CRUST:
  • 1- 4 ounce package of Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast    
  • 1 3/4- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of semolina flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2/3 cups of very warm water (120-125 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 salt
  • 2 tablespoons of finely-chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of red chili pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 20 large slices of Genoa salami
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes pieces
  • 1/4 cup of calamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of capers
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked provolone cheese (or slices)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil                           
Homemade sun-dried tomatoes with garlic
 **Preheat oven to 550 degrees and place oven rack on the very bottom of the oven with pizza stone. **

FOR THE CRUST: Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, semolina flour, undissolved yeast, rosemary, red chili pepper flakes, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Combine very warm water (120-125 degrees), and oil; add to flour mixture. Mix until well blended (about a minute). Gradually, add the remaining flour and form a ball (it will be a bit sticky). Transfer dough ball to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 4 minutes.) Cut dough ball in half with a pastry cutter. With a rolling pin, roll out one of the dough halves into a very thin 15x8 inch rectangle. Transfer that rectangle to a parchment-lined pizza peel.

Vine tomatoes from my garden ready for sun-roasting

FOR THE TOPPING & FILLING: Scatter 3/4 cup of the shredded smoked provolone cheese on the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border around the perimeter. Next, place the salami slices in rows on top of the cheese until all the cheese is covered (you may overlap.) Scatter remaining smoked provolone cheese on top of the salami slices. Roll out the other piece of dough (top crust) into a very thin rectangle of the same size. Place the dough over the top of the salami & cheese-topped dough and pinch along the perimeter to seal the dough. Set aside and allow to proof for 10 minutes. After proofing, drizzle the crust with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then, top with sun-dried tomato pieces and scatter the capers, olives and the grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake on pizza stone for 12 -15 minutes, until golden brown.

Nota bene-  The top crust may puff up a bit, but it will relax once it is removed from the oven and rests for a few minutes. If it puffs too much, just pierce with a knife to release the steam.  Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional).

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