Some things seem like a good idea at the time, but later turn out to be bad or poorly timed ideas. Take white towels, for example. You admire them in Dwell magazine and scurry off to the store where you purchase a set of four. They are so fluffy and perfect they nearly gleam. You hang them carefully in your bathroom taking care to make perfect folds. The room is instantly transformed and so are you. You leave the room and glance back over your shoulder. Gorgeous. You pat yourself on the back. You are sophisticated and chic.
Two weeks later, it’s a different story. The beautiful white towels are nearly gray. Your resolve to avoid using your towels as a quick method to remove your eye makeup lasted only a few days. Those towels are headed to the rag bin. You curse. It seemed like a good idea but, clearly, it wasn’t.
I could go on here for a bit. Accent walls. Precious house plants. White tiled surfaces.
It’s possible I hit a nerve, but there is good news. Some ideas are pretty darn great at the inception and remain so to execution. A dinner of pizza is one of those wonderful ideas. Do we ever tire of a home-baked pizza? Around here, we do not. It’s definitely in our regular rotation and there is good reason for this. After bad idea followed by bad idea in the form of complicated evening meals, I learned a thing or two. My daughter literally clings to my pant legs in the evenings, which makes ingredient-laden, multi-course meals quite a challenge. Pizza dough, however, is something I can throw together in the morning while she naps and have it rise quietly until I am ready to use it.
It’s easy to put together and the ingredients for any decent pizza are so simple it’s nearly criminal to order pizza for delivery. The other great thing about pizza is its utility in using up leftovers. You can throw nearly anything on there and it will taste good. That half of an onion that is just about to turn in the crisper? Throw it on there. The selection of tiny cheese hunks? Use them all. To quote one of my absolute favorite youtube videos, “Put it on the pizza.”
For our Sunday meal, I did just this and, by happenstance, discovered the perfect combination of ingredients. It was simple, but the flavors were savory and delicious. Salty salami and earthy fennel marry perfectly on a thin and crispy crust to make an ideal bite. Top it off with slivers of fresh basil and you have a bright hint of summer in every mouthful.
I’m actually salivating thinking of it now. Is it too much to eat this everyday? Would that be a bad idea? I’m not positive of the answer, but I am quite sure I will be finding out shortly.
Caramelized Fennel Pizza
1/2 batch of pizza dough
1 tblsp. semolina flour
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 and 1/2 tblsp. olive oil
1 cup tomato puree
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
3 ounces sliced salami
kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, slivered
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper by cutting the paper to fit in the sheet with 1/2 inch of overhang. Douse 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil on the parchment paper and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the semolina flour.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the fennel and cook over medium heat until it is very tender, about 15 minutes.
Take your pizza dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface until thin (1/4 inch) and nearly the size of the baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Top the dough with the tomato puree by spooning the puree and spreading it evenly over the surface. Next, spread the cheese evenly over the surface. Then, add the caramelized fennel and spread it evenly as well. Top with the salami taking care to distribute the slices equally over the top of the pizza. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the top.
Place the pizza in the middle of the oven. Cook until the edges are golden, about 10 minutes. When the pizza is just about ready, turn on the broiler to high and cook for just under 1 minute to brown the top of the pizza.
Remove the pizza from the oven and using the parchment paper, transfer it to a safe cutting surface. Top with slivered basil. Cut and serve hot.