Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza, aka The Very Best Pizza-Making Method

On March 2, 2016, we made our very first cast-iron skillet pizza and life has never been the same.  Okay, maybe that’s dramatic, but then again, maybe it’s not!  This is by far, my favorite pizza we’ve ever made and I am delighted EVERY SINGLE TIME we do so.  The crust is thick but perfectly crispy on the bottom, the cheese is melt-y and golden-brown in places and brushing the hot crust with a little spicy honey is maybe the best pizza-making discovery I’ve ever made.

All this being said, the whole process moves sort of fast and until literally yesterday, I’d never not had pizza-making anxiety the entire time.  I’ve got it down now, so I feel qualified to coach you through it.  Here’s how!

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First, take out your dough and set it on a floured surface (it’s easier to work with when it’s room temp), make sure you have an oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat to the hottest temperature it will go (really!).  Now, grate your cheese, mix some honey, chili flakes and just enough water to thin it out and make it brush-able and tear a good handful of basil leaves.

While your oven is heating, start working your pizza dough.  I personally like to give it a stretch, then let it rest, then give it another stretch, then another rest, and repeat that until it’s big enough to fully fill your cast-iron skillet.  Dough, I find, does not like to be rushed.  Same, dough, same.

Once your dough is stretched and your oven is fully heated, put your flour, cornmeal, olive oil, salt & pepper and pizza sauce next to the stove and preheat your cast-iron over medium-high.  Let it get nice and hot (if it’s smoking, it’s too hot!) then quickly sprinkle with a pinch of flour and like the tiniest amount of cornmeal (I understand the strategy with cornmeal but I do not like tasting those little raw beads of cornmeal so I truly keep it to a minimum).  Drape your dough in the pan, then brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Let your dough cook until bubbles start to form on top.  Once you see those bubbles, spread the pizza sauce over the ENTIRE surface of the dough.  It’ll caramelize into the crust and taste amazing!  Top generously with shredded cheese (mozzarella is our favorite but anything shredded works) and slid the whole pan into the oven.

Cook for 10ish minutes, but keep on eye on it.  The cheese will really bubble, which is FINE, but it will start to turn golden fast and once that happens, it’s time to take the pizza out.  Slide the pizza onto a cutting board and brush the hot honey all over the crust.  Let it sit for 5ish minutes (harder than it sounds!), then top with the basil and admire your work.  Maybe take a picture because IT LOOKS MAGNIFICENT, then slice it up and devour.

YOU GOT THIS!

Make This Now

I go through phases where I love every recipe we make and phases where everything is “meh” and most of January felt like the latter, but things turned around at the end of the month and I was back in that “this is all delicious!” mindset.  I like it better here 😛

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Warm Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt

I made this for Joey one night but didn’t eat it myself until the following day and when I dug in, I was wowed!  I’m also a sucker for chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, full fat Greek yogurt and fennel, so I guess this recipe was made just for me.  It might have a lot going on, but it all works so beautifully together.  Swiping a bite of roasted cauliflower through that creamy yogurt was truly a wonderful moment in my life.

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Oven-Roasted Salmon with Feta, Asparagus & Cranberry Farro

We pan-seared this salmon because, in my opinon, it’s the best method but if you make this and you want to oven-roast, you do you.  The farro mixture was SO GOOD!  Cooking the grains in broth means they are really flavorful and then all the mix-in just make it even better.  Our grocery deliverer accidentally brought us two extra pieces of salmon, so I got to eat this meal twice and was NOT mad about it.

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Southwestern Tempeh Taco Salad with Chipotle-Tahini

Wow, this was good!  And made for one of those healthy filling lunches that gives you a burst of energy and happiness.  As I write this, this salad is waiting for me in the fridge for lunch and I feel very very excited about that.  I love how tempeh is much more permeable than tofu so the chipotle sauce you cook it in, really transforms it.  Plus everything topped with avocado is fine more than fine by me!

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Black Bean Plantain Enchilada Bake

It’s probably not recommended to have your groceries delivered if you need perfectly ripe plantains, but even though a couple of them were not quite there, this meal still turned out so so good.  This is the second time we’ve made this enchilada bake and we’ve loved it both times!  It’s saucy and hearty and doused in a “cheesy” sauce that makes use of Joey’s favorite ingredient: nutritional yeast.  It does take some time, but the result is more than worth it.  I highly recommend topping it with avocado and maybe eating some tortilla chips on the side.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Zucchini & Pesto

It’s probably cruel to share this meal with you, without linking the recipe but it’s from a cookbook, so I guess you can’t really “make this now”… SORRY!  One Thursday night, I whipped myself up a dinner for one and not only was this gnocchi easy and quick (key when you’re cooking solo) but it tasted so dang good.  One slipped out of the pan as I crisped them up and I was all too happy to eat it off the stove.  Special mention to freezer pesto, making this extra easy to cook and bursting with good basil flavor.

Please tell me what you’ve been cooking and loving lately!