Table talk: February 2012
The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events.
This month’s feature on local pizzas and pizzerias may encourage you to try to make your own pizza. But it takes the right tools.
Sur la Table’s website alone offers 109 products related to pizza. Besides a good knife to cut your pie into wedges, what are the necessities? These are my Top 5 pizza tools.
Pizza stone ($25-$100): Baking stone cooks pizza evenly without hotspots and helps uniformly brown and crisp crust. Ceramic or cordierite products can withstand an oven temperature of 500 degrees and usually don’t require any seasoning or conditioning.
Wooden or aluminum pizza peel ($15-$35): If you are baking directly on a pizza stone, a peel is necessary to transfer your pizza back and forth from the oven. Sprinkled with cornmeal, the dough slides right off the peel’s smooth surface.
Mezzaluna or pizza wheel ($10-$30): Unless you have a large chef’s knife with a 12-inch blade, it’s hard to cut a pizza with one fell swoop. I like the mezzaluna-style cutters that cut across the crust with a rocking motion, but a heavy-duty pizza wheel does the job just as well.
Aluminum pizza pan ($12-$19): Bake your pizzas like the pros do with this inexpensive pan. The aluminum conducts heat evenly and efficiently for consistently crisp crust.
Deep-dish pizza pan ($10-$25): With sides up to 3 inches deep, this metal or porcelain pan is essential for layering the buttery crust and hearty ingredients that make up traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
Here are a few great pizza reads, sure to get your creative sauces flowing.
“American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza” by Peter Reinhart
Master bread baker Peter Reinhart is hot on the pizza trail. He traveled from Italy to the United States, capturing the stories behind the greatest artisanal pizzas of the Old World and the New. Back in his home kitchen, Reinhart gives readers a master class on pizza-making techniques and provides more than 60 recipes for doughs, sauces and toppings, as well as the pizzas that bring them all together.
“Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More” by Elizabeth Karmel
Pizza and the grill — seemingly two of any American’s favorite things. Award-winning barbecue chef and restaurateur Elizabeth Karmel combined the two in her newest book, which offers up more than 100 recipes for innovative, delicious pizzas, from classics to desserts. Also included with each recipe are suggestions for drink pairings and music to grill by.
“The Italian Baker, Revised: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside — Its Breads, Pizza, Focaccia, Cakes, Pastries and Cookies” by Carol Field
This highly collectible book, “The Italian Baker,” is one of only a few, if any, cookbooks to cover the entire range of Italian baking, from breadsticks to pastries. Carol Field‘s classic tome was recently updated, with new techniques, recipes, sources and photography. Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for best baking book, “The Italian Baker” was also named to the James Beard Baker’s Dozen list of 13 indispensable baking books of all time.
“The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes from Los Angeles’s Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria” by Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno Osteria
Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, the L.A. hotspots Nancy Silverton co-owns with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, have been meccas for pizza lovers since they opened. Reservations are hard to come by, and it’s not every day that we find ourselves in L.A. with the time to wait in line for a table. Thankfully, Silverton’s “The Mozza Cookbook” has just been released and offers many of the restaurants’ recipes to the home cook. Whip up some of these dishes and your friends will be lining up at your door.