Picks and Pans Review: Pizza
by James McNair
Americans consume more than 11 billion slices of pizza each year, but few of us have tried all 33 toppings assembled in this glossy collection. Perfect pizza, McNair tells us, is cooked on a layer of unglazed quarry tiles that you have had cut to fit your oven. Preheat it for an hour at 500. Make your dough with sugar and yeast (whole wheat yields a chewy, nutty texture, cornmeal contributes to the crunch). Let it rise, pound it down, roll it out and crown it with fresh tomatoes, garlic chips and sprigs of basil or make it chic with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic and chèvre. Bored with red sauces? Try broccoli, peas and asparagus for a primavera production. With clear instructions, McNair presents pop-in-your-mouth mini-pizzas topped with pesto, deep-dish pies Chicago-style, pizza in French fashion (pissaladière) with grilled onions, olives and anchovies, all-American toppings such as chili con carne and ideas for pizza with an Asian accent (mu shu pork, Thai chicken). Once again, photographer Brabant delivers appetizing full-page pizza portraits. (Chronicle Books, $18.95)
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