homemade brussels sprouts & soppressata pizza using Paul Virant’s pickled cherry tomatoes from Jar Sessions
yield: 2 (10″) pizzas
Add the active dry yeast to a small bowl. Add the warm water and whisk aggressively for 30 seconds. The yeast should dissolve and create a foamy mixture. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour. Using a dough hook attachment, run the mixer on low speed and pour in most of the ice water. Reserve about 2 tablespoons. Then, pour in the yeast mixture. Add the reserved ice water to the yeast mixture bowl to help retrieve any bits of yeast that may be stuck to the bowl. Add this into the mixer bowl. Mix the dough on the lowest speed for 1 minute, or until most of the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and comes together.
Use your hands to pull the dough off the hook and away from the sides. Check the bottom of the bowl for any unincorporated flour. Press the flour into the dough. If the dough is dry, add small amounts of water until it holds together. Add the salt and mix for another minute. Use your hands to pull the dough off the hook and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the oil. Mix for 1-2 minutes until the oil is absorbed, stopping the mixer occasionally to pull the dough off the hook and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a clean, un-floured work surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Cut the dough in half and form each piece into a dough ball. Wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the thinly sliced brussels sprouts. Let cook until tender and slightly caramelized, about 6 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Remove the pickled cherry tomatoes from the jar and quarter each tomato. Add them to the pan with the brussels sprouts and let cook for a minute or so. Strain the pickling liquid and measure out a half cup. Pour the liquid into the pan. Stir in the honey. Let the liquid come to a simmer and reduce, about 5 minutes. The liquid will create a simple “sauce” in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 550F. Use your hands to stretch each ball of pizza dough on a floured surface into an even circle, roughly 10” each. Make sure the dough is level and that there are no tears. You also want to make sure the dough is slightly thicker on the edges for the crust. Once you’ve rolled out the dough, place two sheet pans in the oven, inverted, to preheat (or use pizza stones if you have them).
All toppings should be placed on the pizza in an even layer, leaving a ½” edge of dough for the crust. Start by distributing the fontina cheese evenly across each pizza. Place the slices of soppressata on next. Then, spoon the caramelized brussels sprouts and pickled cherry tomato sauce over top. Make sure all the spaces of each pizza are filled and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Drizzle olive oil around the edges of the crust. Use a lightly floured pizza peel to transfer the pizzas to the pre-heated, inverted sheet pans in the oven (or onto the pizza stones). Bake the pizzas for about 6-8 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the bottom of the pizza is firm, the cheese has fully melted, and the toppings are heated through. I like to give the sheet pans a turn half way through the cooking process. Transfer the pizzas from the sheet pan in the oven to a cutting board, using the pizza peel. Cut each pizza into 8 slices. Garnish with the watercress, fresh oregano leaves, a light drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of flaky maldon salt.