Sunday 10 November 2013

Pizza nostalgia and disappointment

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I shared a house in Erskineville with three other women. It wasn't a particularly satisfactory living arrangement, and after that I ended up living in a one-bedroom flat I struggled to afford while swearing that I would never again live with another human being.

It wasn't all bad of course. I am still on good terms with two of the other women. I also developed a taste for the Inner West lifestyle and picked up some very good ideas about food. Making a fragrant Thai tom yum soup with slowly cooked oxtail. Beer-battered chips. A delicious take on a mojito involving three forms of mint.

Recently, I've been thinking fondly of the Aegean pizza that we used to get at Pizza Picasso. It was memorable for being a seafood-topped pizza that was actually nice, but the thing that really made it stand out were the slivers of lemon baked onto the top.

I see from the Pizza Picasso menu that the Aegean is still there, but that my memory of it was quite inaccurate. I have a very clear recollection of it being a pizza bianco, with prawns, feta and the lemon - no tomato base or sun-dried capsicum.

I'd bought a new product to try, some frozen balls of pizza dough, so I thought I would make the Aegean pizza as I remembered it. As the dough balls thawed, I was a bit apprehensive, because they had a thick, dry layer around the outside that cracked quite badly and made it difficult to roll out. But I followed the instructions and thought it didn't look too bad when shaped.

I drizzled the base with olive oil and scattered over some chopped garlic. Then I distributed raw peeled prawns, (too much) crumbled feta and thin slices of lemon cut into quarters. Halved cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of dried oregano and a splash more olive oil and into the oven it went.

The result was... not good. The pizza base adhered to the tray like superglue. There was no possible way I could get it off the (old, reliable, never-done-this-before) pizza tray. We ended up scraping the topping off and eating it with a few rescued fragments of the crust. The next pizza did exactly the same thing. The trays had to soak over night for me to scrape the failed bases off.

The topping was delicious, exactly as I remembered it. Using raw prawns and cooking the pizza for a short time at a high temperature keeps them plump and sweet, the sharp bites of lemon and acid sweetness of the tomatoes cuts through the salty creaminess of the feta. It is a lovely, lovely combination. I will have to make it again soon using my own pizza dough, it's too good to wait another 10 years.
Don't let the good looks deceive you, this pizza was a failure


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I can imagine how delicious that topping is... too bad the base let you down!

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

Sorry to hear it wasn't the success you were hoping for, but I hope you give it another shot! Pizza is always a favorite! :)

Amy said...

I'm sorry to hear that the pizza wasn't the success you were hoping for! Hopefully next time it will be better - it sounds great!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leaf - it really is. The caramelised sweetness that the lemon gets is magic.

Pamela - fortunately we are always happy to eat pizza, so I can give it another shot very soon!

Amy - if at first you don't succeed etc...

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Shame the pizza base you bought was a flop. The topping sounds insanely good though, so I'm going to give this a try with some of my homemade pizza dough.

grace said...

had i just seen the picture, i definitely would've been fooled. :)


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