It’s six thirty in the morning, and I know a lot of people in the world get up at this hour, but it’s not usually me. In about a week it’s going to be me, so I’m practicing. Plus I have become obsessed with the 72 lamb chops that I am cooking for a job on Saturday, and the ridiculous idea that I can guess just how many chops people are going to eat, and will they go for the fish instead of the lamb, or take fish as well, or not at all, so I couldn’t sleep. You would think this would be easy for me now, but it’s not. People could hate lamb, or they could say things like “you know, after all these years of not eating lamb, I love it, I can’t get enough of it. Do you mind if I pack a few of these away for my husband? He is a lamb LOVER.” And then my beautiful wild sea bass would go untouched.
Get a little more than what you expect people to eat of each thing. Unless fish is a feature, like at a fish fry, or you are on the beach, most people consider fish a second option. I am going to figure two thirds of the people will eat lamb and one third will eat the sea bass. Never, have I ever seen every person at a party eat both entrees, and plenty of people eat no entree at all. Done. Now I have about fifteen minutes before Ferdinand wakes up to obsess about everything else, and to think about what I’m making for dinner for my family.
How about forget lamb, and make pizza? Use three cups of flour, half an ounce of cake yeast dissolved in a cup of warm water, a few Tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of salt. Put it all in the food processor and whir it around for 30 seconds. Take it out, knead it for a bit, until the dough is smooth, and then let it rest for at least an hour in a warmish, but not too warm a place. A slow rising bread dough has a much nicer, more developed texture. For your toppings you can use gorgonzola and fontina with some fresh basil, or wilt some spinach with garlic, press out the liquid, and have it fresh ricotta, parmesan and some sausage, or sauted broccoli, black olives, roasted garlic and anchovies with a litte lemon zest and red pepper flakes.
Push down the dough, form and stretch it into a circle, bake it in a hot oven with a drizzle of olive oil, on a preheated stone if you have one, and then when it is nearly done, take it out, and put your ingredients on top. This way, your dough will cook through. It’s hard to get a home oven to get to a high enough temperature to cook everything from the start.