I enjoy reading. When I was little, I would read books, sometimes over and over again. Unlike television, reading is quiet. I can turn off all the noise and let my imagination take over. And in books, you have a little more space to talk – about anything. Often this space is used to discuss or describe food.
Recently, I read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas whose flair for historical fiction is only outstripped by his fantastic hair:
This book delivers a healthy mix of themes, including hope, justice, revenge and – my personal favorite – ridiculous banter.
Consider my favorite quote from the book:
"I say that when a thing is beyond my comprehension, I stop thinking about it and pass on to something else. Is our supper ready?"
My kind of book. And supper is what we are concerned about here. As it turns out, Dumas was a fan of pizza. In his book Le Corricolo he talks about the original Neapolitan pizza vendors (the food trucks of yore!), and notes the popular toppings: oil, lard, tallow, cheese.
I have recreated, to the best of my ability, that original Neapolitan lardo pizza. To describe my fondness for this pizza, and lardo in general, I must use another Dumas quote:
"...know you not that you are my sun by day, and my star by night? By my faith! I was in deepest darkness till you appeared and illuminated all." (from Queen Margot)
Here is the recipe for Nineteenth Century Lardo Pizza That Illuminates All:
What You Need:
1 recipe pizza dough – found here
1/4 pound thinly sliced lardo (I got mine from Salumeria Rosi on the UWS)
Olive oil (don't bother to measure)
Grated Peccorino cheese - about a cup, but feel free to use more
Fresh herbs: I used rosemary and thyme, but basil would be lovely as well.
What To Do:
Heat your pizza stone in your oven to 500 degrees for a half hour before you even think about placing dough in there.
Stretch out your pizza dough onto a pizza peel coated with semolina flour or cornmeal.
Drizzle your dough with olive oil.
Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until your crust is turning golden and starts to bubble.
Remove the pizza crust from the oven with the pizza peel. Place it on a plate.
Garnish with sliced lardo, Peccorino cheese, and fresh herbs.
The heat from the hot pizza dough will melt the lardo and cheese and create a wonderful just-toasted effect.
Eat it immediately. With wine.
Speaking of wine, Dumas has this to say:
"So much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have some bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts." (from the Count of Monte Cristo)
Oh, and if you are looking for the correct pronunciation of "Dumas", see this handy reference. John and I still call each other "dumas-es."