While most view the approach of Memorial Day weekend as a time to prime the grill, we see it as a signal to uncover our outdoor clay oven (here and here). It’s just a bitty thing, not unlike a wood-fired version of an Easy Bake Oven. However, this being New England, the weather’s been less than cooperative to get it going. Still, ever in search of the perfect pizza crust, I wanted to give Jim Lahey’s no-knead version of pizza dough a try. The recipe in its entirety can be found at Food52, complete with slideshow. If you’ve ever made his no-knead bread, you’ll find this is even easier and, with little forethought, you’ll never have to rely on store-bought dough again.
The recipe makes enough for 4 pizzas — the first we topped with goat cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes and basil; the second with mozzarella, green onions and bacon; the third with mozzarella and kale; and the fourth as dealer’s choice, a mix of what remained. The pizza with kale was inspired by last week’s pasta version, and the lemony notes of the salad mix made it our new favorite, elevating it far beyond its abstemious-sounding name.
With a small batch of the kale salad dressed and at the ready, we topped a round of dough with a layer of shredded mozzarella and a thin scattering of some of the kale mixture, reserving the rest. Once the pizza was done baking, we finished it with another layer of kale salad. The heat of the pizza will wilt it slightly, but not enough that the kale loses its freshness, a welcome contrast to the blistery crust. The only improvement would be to bake it in the wood-fired oven, for which we await the weather to clear.