Some months ago, I was reading a discussion of Pizza at Eating Asia. Someone mentioned a Naples style pizzeria in Manhattan that  serves theirs with a minimum of toppings,  and a chili and garlic infused oil as a condiment.  It brought to mind an essay about the Camorra, and its amphetamine juiced teenage killers dousing their pie with oil in an effort to hydrate themselves before the next sidewalk slaying.

I found a couple of recipes that incorporate harissa in the tomato based sauce, but I like the idea of adding the infused oil later. We have a low temperature oven (450-480 tops), which makes for long cooking times and dry pizza, and I will go out of my way to drink olive oil anyway. Some enterprising douche has probably already manufactured olive oil flavored vodka, and I’d be fine with that.

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We planted a few seedlings  of arugula a couple of weeks ago:  daily rain and muleshit growth medium has conferred weed status upon them, and they must be eaten. We won’t be harvesting our own tomatoes until late June, but we bought some hydroponically grown leathery simulacra at a local store that specializes in bumpkin approved versions of fine foods: Nabisco chicken flavored croutons, Dijon Mayonnaise, Bone Suckin’ (!) sauce.

The mealiness of the worst tomatoes tends to wither away under broiler temperatures, though.

I found a harissa recipe on the web that’s pretty good, and here it is with a few modifications.DSC09805

24-30 salt cured or plain dried chilis, a handful of garlic cloves and a tablespoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, and caraway seeds. Whirl it with a cup of olive oil,  jar,  then add another 3/4 cup to cover. You can keep adding oil to the top for a couple of months if you’re like me. I’m still eating from jars of Indian chili relish we bought when Elvis Costello was thin.

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Here’s the dough. I used four cups of high gluten unbleached organic flour, a quarter teaspoon of yeast incorporated directly into the flour, 3/4 tablespoon of salt, and water enough to make a fairly slack, ciabatta-like dough. Look at that gluten!

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I divided the dough into two lumps, one for the pizza, one for a small boule we can eat with an industrial size slab of Brie marked sternly ‘For Export Only’.

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The dough is pressed down onto the sheet with a generous amount of oil, then piled with mozzarella, Parmesan, and arugula wilted in oil. I  add a can of stewed tomatoes whirled with a tablespoon of harissa, imitation tomatoes and more cheese.

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Ready for the oven. I baked it at 480 for twelve minutes. Served with harissa on the side, for drizzling.

The boule turned out nicely, too.

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Outside every fat man, there’s an even fatter one closing in.

-Kingsley Amis.

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