July 9th, 2018. 2:46pm. Folktale winery, Carmel, California. While sitting on the velvet couch.
My first bite of fried pizza. You never forget your first bite of fried pizza. Why, you ask? Well, simply put, because it’s life-changing.
I know, I probably sound like I’m being a bit dramatic. But, tbh, what’s new for me? Also, tbh, you know I don’t play when it comes to food. And I certainly don’t mess around when it comes to pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, ever. I’m convinced it helps make the world go ‘round. There’s a good chance it’s a part of my DNA. And, if you come to my house on a Friday night, I’m probably making some because pizza is my Friday night love language. And that was all before my first bite of fried pizza.
Honestly, fried pizza is in a whole other stratosphere from regular pizza. It’s golden, it’s crispy, it’s light, it’s flaky, it’s buttery, it’s melt-in-your-mouth epically delicious. It’s also the perfect vessel for as many, or as few, toppings as you want. In fact, it’s so good, you could probably eat it without toppings and be totally content (may or may not be able to verify this from personal experience). And, despite the fact that it sounds super fancy and extra, it’s actually really easy and simple to make (it takes less time to cook than regular pizza). And, if you use pre-made dough, it becomes even quicker (although, I do have to say, the dough recipe I share below is my tried and true, easiest-pizza-dough-you’ll-ever-make dough recipe so you should probably go ahead and just use that).
You can obviously top your pizza with whatever you choose. For us, squash blossoms just so happen to be in season, so I wanted to take advantage of them while I had the chance. We ended up finding two combinations of squash blossom pizza that we loved, one that’s a little bit spicier and involves sausage, burrata, basil and my ever-favorite Calabrian chilis, and a sweeter option, with rosemary, ricotta cheese, walnuts and honey. Both are equally delicious, and you can’t go wrong with either, so, I highly suggest doing what we did and making two of each. Because there’s nothing worse than a world without pizza…except for when you have to choose between two types of pizza.
However you choose to top your fried pizza, know that it won’t disappoint. It’s fried, after all, and fried things never let you down. Oh, and one last thing. Be prepared to never want to eat pizza any other way ever again. Sorry not really sorry.
FRied PIZZA WITH SQUASH BLOSSOMS
makes 4 pizzas
FOR THE CRUST
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons oil (I use vegetable or olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for frying
FOR THE TOPPINGS
calabrian chilis, diced
sausage, cooked and crumbled
red pepper flakes
sea salt flakes
fresh grated parmesan cheese
TO MAKE THE CRUST
In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast and sugar. Add in the salt, then the oil and finally the flour. You can then proceed to use the dough immediately or let it rest for up to 30 minutes. I've also covered the dough with plastic wrap and kept it in the fridge for 24 hours before using it.
Divide the dough into four separate pieces. Gently press each one into a flat disc, about 6-8” wide and 1/2” thick.
TO COOK THE CRUST
Place a cooling rack on a separate baking sheet and put it near where you’ll be cooking the pizza dough.
Heat canola oil (about 1/2” deep) in a large cast iron skillet over a medium burner. A good way to test if the oil is ready is to sprinkle it lightly with water and if the water sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
Gently add one disc of pizza dough to the pan. Fry for a minute, then flip and fry another minute, or until the dough is golden brown. Remove to the cooling rack, then repeat with the remaining discs of dough.
TO MAKE THE PIZZA
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place fried pizza dough on a baking sheet. Add your choice of toppings, then bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Slice and enjoy (preferably with a glass of wine or an aperol spritz, somewhere outside on a warm summer evening!).
Ricotta cheese, squash blossoms, walnuts, red pepper flakes, sea salt flakes, grated parm, fresh rosemary, drizzle of honey (cook the crust with everything but the honey and rosemary and add those after removing the pizza from the oven; feel free to also add additional parmesan and red pepper flakes after baking)
Sausage, calabrian chilis, squash blossoms, burrata cheese, grated parm, fresh basil (cook the crust with all toppings but the basil and add that after removing the pizza from the oven; feel free to also add additional parmesan and red pepper flakes after baking)
To make this recipe even easier, you can use pre-made pizza dough.
Fried pizza leftovers don’t taste quite as good as regular pizza leftovers, so I’d suggest cooking only what you know you’re going to eat.
You can also use the pizza dough recipe to make traditional baked pizza. Just preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking pan (a cast iron skillet or pizza stone also work). I spray mine with oil then sprinkle it with a dusting of fine cornmeal. Spread the dough onto the pan then top with your favorite toppings. For a baking sheet, bake the pizza for about 20 minutes. For a cast iron skillet, start with the pan on a medium heat burner for 5 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes. For a pizza stone, bake 15-20 minutes. For the grill, preheat your pizza stone for about 20 minutes. Cook the pizza on the stone for about 5-6 minutes or until the edges are golden-brown. This makes enough dough for for one 10"x13" baking sheet, 2 12" skillets, 1 pizza stone or about 7-8 mini pizzas.