The Setting: Interior. Kitchen. Thursday evening.
The Situation: I had just returned home from a long day of work and was hoping to make a quick dinner that I had been looking forward to making for two weeks: Fig, Rosemary, and Gorgonzola Pizza.
The Background: Each time I went to the supermarket to get figs, they were sold out. I finally hit the jackpot two days before, when Whole Foods was freshly stocked with Black Mission Figs. I had previously prepared an Alice Waters pizza dough recipe and froze it for this special occasion.
Cut to me at the counter, setting my mise en place. The dough had been brought to room temperature. The rosemary chopped. The gorgonzola crumbled. Now, it was time to slice the figs.
Cue dramatic music. Close up on mold spores.
Cut to my widened eyes, filled with a mix of horror and sorrow.
As I said previously, I had been looking forward to this for weeks. WEEKS. My dreams, which were so close to coming true, were crushed. I turned to Jack for help. I tried to convince myself that it wasn't mold. But it was a losing battle.
We racked our brains for items that we had on hand that would compliment gorgonzola and rosemary. Grilled plums. Caramelized Onions. Lamb.
Stop. Hammer Time.
We had lamb shoulder in the freezer. It would work. It had to work. We defrosted the lamb shoulder, I seasoned it with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, seared in on the stove for 5 minutes, spread it on the pizza, sprinkled it with rosemary and gorgonzola, and said a prayer as I placed it in the oven.
Interior. Couch. 30 minutes later.
I walk over to Jack and hand him a steaming slice of pizza. I eye him as he takes his first bite. His eyes widen.
Jack: MMMMMMMMM. BABY. WOW.
I take a bite. WOW. The creamy gorgonzola melted in my mouth while I chewed on pieces of succulent lamb and tasted the fresh pine flavor from the fragrant rosemary. The pizza dough was delicious, with a crust that was hard on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside with hints of rye from the addition of rye flour.
Our smiles lit up the room as the camera fades to black.
Lamb, Rosemary and Gorgonzola Pizza (Pizza Crust Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Foods)
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup rye flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (if you do not have ww flour, just used 3 1/4 cup unbleached white flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 olive oil
1 lb. lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and diced
2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Stir together yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup white flour and rye flour. Allow the mixture to sit until quite bubbly, about 30 minutes.
In another bowl, mix together the unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. Stir this into the yeast and flour mixture and add cold water and olive oil.
Mix thoroughly by hand or in an electric stand mixer. If working by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more flour, but only enough to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Or use the mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough is the right texture when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl of the mixer, but still adheres to the bottom. You are looking for a very soft, slightly moist dough.
Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. For an even better-tasting and more supple dough, let the dough rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before shaping.
Divide the dough into two and form each piece into a nice, smooth ball. Allow the dough balls to rest at room temperature, wrapped loosely in plastic, for an hour or so. Flatten each ball into a disk about 5 or 6 inches in diameter, flour lightly, cover, and let rest for another 15 minutes. Place a baking stone on the lowest rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 F.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a medium sauce pan. Season the lamb with kosher salt and black pepper. Sear the lamb on each side until golden brown. Set aside.
Gently stretch one of the disks into a round roughly 10 inches in diameter and put on a floured peel or an inverted baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil, and, leaving a 1/2" border uncovered, top with lamb, rosemary, and gorgonzola. Slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the crust is browned, about 15 minutes.