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Pizza Dough, Smoked Ajo Blanco & Basil

Guest Chef Recipe

Pizza Dough, Smoked Ajo Blanco & Basil
Courtesy of Alter
3 spoon difficulty rating

30

(plus proving time)

Serves: 6

Pizza Dough, Smoked Ajo Blanco & Basil

This has become something of a signature dish of sorts. It really came about because of my personal loathing of sourdough as the accepted bread course at restaurants.  I wanted to prove that a bread course could start things off with a real bang and went down an Italian route by reinventing pizza - It’s even the 3 colours of the Italian flag! 

Ingredients: 

Pizza powder

  • 100g freeze dried tomato powder 

Seasoning

  • Maldon salt
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried Italian herbs/basil
  • Sweet smoked paprika
  • Smoke powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Black pepper (Ground)

Pizza dough

  • 8g yeast
  • 150g warm water
  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 8g salt
  • 8g sugar

Smoked Ajo Blanco

  • 125g blanched almonds
  • 10g garlic
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g veg oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4g smoke powder
  • 12.5ml sherry vinegar 
  • 75ml water

 

  • Deep Fried Basil (Or just use fresh!)

Method: 

Pizza Dough

  1. First, pour the warm water over the yeast and allow to activate. It will take about 15 mins and will be done when it looks all frothy in there!
  2. Meanwhile have the dry ingriedients standing by in a kitchenaid.  Once the yeasty water has achieve frothyness, pour in to the kitchen aid and mix with the dough hook attachment until a smooth dough is formed. About 5 mins. Transfer to a container, cover and rest for minimum of 1hr, but ideally overnight – It will double in volume!

Pizza Powder

  1. Now there really is no exact recipe to this bit. It’s all up to you! You just have to trust your palette! A rough guide is you want the tomato powder to form about 80% of the powder. But everything else is fair game.  You want a good bit of herbeceousness from the dry herbs and certainly some salt and smoky paprika. A good crack of black pepper and if you have them, garlic and onion powder send this to the next level.  You have to think of it as a dry version of a classic tomato ragu! It’s that base of your pizza and the taste will come through in the finished product!
  2. Whizz the powder until it’s totally dust like and place in a shaker of some kind if you have one, or if not, set it aside and place a sieve within reach – you’ll need that later!

Smoked Ajo Blanco

  1. In a food processor, blitz the first set of ingriedients until smooth, before adding the sherry vinegar and water and blitzing again until you have a thick pale wet paste of sorts.
  2. Ideally you’d place this into a piping bag for pretty presentation later, but there’s really no need! It can happily live in a ramekin on the plate, or if you’re feeling totally crazy…directly on the plate.

Assembly

  1. We’re going to be deep frying the pizza dough, so have a think how that works best for you as deep frying can be dangerous at home. Your options are to either fill a heavy based pan with veg oil or much more preferably, use a tabletop deep fryer!  Make sure your oil is at 180 degrees but no higher than 190. – be careful, that’s hot.
  2. Dust a surface with flour and roll out dough thinly. Cut out long thin triangles about 12cm by 4cm and deep fry, Turning to colour evenly. Once golden brown all over, remove with a perforated spoon, shake the oil off as best you can and drain on kitchen paper. 
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl and dust lightly with salt before shaking in your Pizza Powder to cover the shards.
  4. Assemble the shards in a freestanding form on a plate with a little Ajo Blanco on the side and don’t forget your basil too!

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