I like to cook in batches. Even though I am generally cooking for just one or two. Some stuff just makes sense that way: big pots of stock, beans, a roast hunk of meat that can become 4 dishes in the day after, pizza. One big bowl of dough will keep well if you let it rise gently overnight in the fridge. And you can eat it for every meal that day. And you really can, you know? Or you can have a pizza party.
This morning as I looked at the bowl of dough that I had just retrieved from the fridge I was thinking, oh yes, egg & lardo pizza. Because you know those are two of my very favourite things. I quite like to cover my egg yolks with lardo anyway. And I have lardo in the fridge. (Lardo? Cured gorgeous pork fat, mouth melting and divine. Not lard. Which is also great but for different reasons). But I have something even better too. Guanciale! Roman cheek bacon, the very best bacon there is. I consider myself an expert after all the testing that I did for my next book Project Bacon (which is in the final stages, and I know I have said that before but it really is).
I didn’t have a meat slicer (and oh how I want one!), and what I really wanted was a thin sheet of guanciale, rich with fat and weak with a quiver of pink meat. It would protect and coat the egg as it roasted in the most gorgeous way possible. It drives me crazy when an egg on a pizza hardens and blisters as it roasts. I tried my food processor and it did well enough. All systems go, pizza for breakfast was going to be a thing.
I am lucky, I have gorgeous Roman tomatoes, bursting with ripeness. If they could speak they would be exuberant and you might not want to sit next to them, but as a tomato they are a perfect thing. Chopped into large enough dice so that they still had personality and texture and shape, they were the first layer on my breakfast pizza. Thrown cautiously over a carefully teased piece of dough, shaped into a careless circle with my fingers. On top, a little chopped fresh rosemary. I cracked an egg into the centre where there was enough of a lack of tomatoes to hold an egg, with a wall of tomatoes around it. On top, three carefully placed slices of guanciale joy.
Into the oven at its highest setting, and about 6 minutes later there it was. My perfect breakfast pizza, bacon and egg at its most joyful. You must make it. I promise it is worth making the dough. Have a breakfast pizza party!
- 450g strong flour
- 10g dried yeast
- 300ml just warm water
- 25ml extra virgin olive oil
- a generous pinch of sea salt
- 1 good tomato, chopped into dice or a couple of tablespoons of good tomato passata
- a little fresh rosemary or thyme
- three thin slices of guanciale, bacon or lardo
- 1 egg
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- black pepper
Make your dough. Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the oil. Add the water a little at a time, mixing it through. When the flour has come together to a ball there is enough water. Add more a little at a time if you need it (each brand of flour is a little different). if it gets too wet just add a little more flour. Knead for 10 minutes or 5 minutes if you have a mixer with a dough hook. Cover with cling film and let it rise slowly in the fridge overnight or let it rise in the warmest part of your kitchen until it has doubled in size (about 40 minutes to an hour). Knock the dough back by literally knocking the wind out of it, and let it rise again for another 10 minutes at room temperature. It is now ready to use.
Preheat your oven to its highest heat.
Divide the dough into 6 balls and using your hands, gently shape it into a circle. I like it when it isn’t too thin, liking it to be approaching foccacia but not quite. You should have yours as thin as you like it. If you find hand shaping awkward you can use a rolling pin.
Put the dough on a floured or oiled baking tray and add the tomatoes, making sure there is room for an egg in the middle. Season the pizza at this point (the bacon will have enough salt. Sprinkle on the rosemary and crack the egg on top. Carefully put the guanciale or lardo or bacon over the egg, making sure the yolk is covered. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle with some black pepper.
The pizza shouldn’t take long. Keep an eye on it after 5 minutes.
Eat hot and enjoy! I love it :)
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