Photograph by Gentl and Hyers Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Pizza with Fennel and Feta

Mains from Issue 5 – Spring / Summer 2014 – Caravan

It is the desert’s salt flats (like California’s Badwater Basin, Utah’s Bonneville, and Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni), those bleached corners with riddled, moon-like surfaces bearing an endless constellation of cracks, that informed our pizza of spiky fennel bulbs, onion shards, and feta.

makes 2 (11-inch) pizzas

  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • about 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
  • 1 (¼ oz) packet active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water (105-115°F)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ lb fresh mozzarella, sliced and torn into pieces
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 small bulb fennel, very thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1

    Stir salt into 1½ cups flour and set aside. Put ½ of the water in a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Let stand until surface looks creamy, about 5 minutes.

  • 2

    Stir in remaining water, salted flour, and 1 Tbsp oil and stir until smooth. Incorporate 1 or 2 more Tbsp flour until dough clears sides of bowl when stirred. Transfer to a floured surface and knead with floured hands, incorporating as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as needed, until dough is supple and springy. Divide dough into 2 balls. Dust each with flour and place in separate bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • 3

    Preheat oven to 500°-550°F with a pizza stone or large baking sheet on a lower rack.

  • 4

    With floured hands, flatten 1 ball of dough into a disk then place on sheet of parchment and stretch into an 11-inch round. Spread dough with sauce, scatter with half of the cheeses, pepper flakes, onion, and fennel. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Using a peel or cookie sheet, slide pizza with parchment onto stone or pan and bake until dough is puffed and bottom is golden, about 6 minutes. Remove parchment and broil briefly for additional browning of crust. Assemble second pizza and bake.

    Note: For a meat version omit sauce and red pepper, and add 6 slices of coppa.

    HOW TO GRILL: Pizzas can also be grilled. Oil pan and both sides of dough. Flip or slide dough onto medium-hot grill. Close grill and cook until puffed. Transfer dough back to pan, grilled side up. Scatter with toppings and slide back onto grill. Cook covered until cheese is melted and toppings are tender.