Purple Potato Pizza

Have you ever seen a purple potato? They’re abundant, and since they develop underground, they’re available year round. (A light from heaven opens the clouds, and angels sing the Hallelujah Chorus.)

I love purple potatoes because they pack a punch of anthocyanin goodness that white potatoes just can’t touch. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant found in blue, red and purple produce. It’s an immune system superstar, much like our friend, the mighty blueberry. Um… and… they’re PURPLE. (Which is what really matters.)

Flavor wise, they taste just like a white, starchy potato!

If you have a pizza stone, pop it in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. (No pizza stone? A cast iron skillet will work, or try a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not preheat the cast iron or the baking sheet – you will build the pizza in the skillet or on the baking sheet.)

Slicing the Purple Potatoes

I started by taking the round potato masses and slicing them into thin little coins. I sliced the potatoes with a mandoline, but a sharp knife would work well too.

My first run-in with a mandoline was when I lived in Japan. My Japanese hostess used her mandoline on a daily basis. My little American self had no idea how to even engage the tool. Now, I use it multiple times a week!

I halved the potato with a knife (though you could remove a smaller amount -the potato just needs to sit flat on the mandolin). Next, I placed the potato, flat side down, on the mandoline.

Watch your fingers! The slicing speed of a mandoline is so much fun, that it’s easy to forget that you’re even dealing with such a sharp toy! Most mandolines come with a “finger guard” that will grip the vegetable as you’re slicing. I thought my ceramic mandoline blade was wimpy… From experience, I can tell you: it’s sharper than metal! I tend to discard (or eat) the last quarter-inch of what ever I’m slicing. Better safe than sorry!

Great! Beautiful, uniform, thin purple potato coins. I only needed three little purple potatoes for this pizza. Now, I’m wondering what I will make with the remaining purple potatoes!

Onto the Dough

I love making pizza because it forces me to think ahead.

I usually start the dough in the morning or in the middle of the afternoon. Making dough is ridiculously easy (especially if you own a food processor). You really only need about an hour-and-a-half of a head start before baking, since the dough doesn’t need to rise like a loaf of bread. If you are claiming a black belt in the kitchen, make your own dough. It’s a ton of fun, and it’s very easy to do.

If you check the intermediate box on all things kitchen, or, if you’re coming home just before dinner, swing by your local mom-and-pop pizzeria and ask for a ball of dough. They’re spending expert-amounts-of-time with the dough, and the finished product rarely disappoints.

Most supermarkets sell pizza dough by the ball, too. Often the ball they’ll give you is enough dough for a couple of pizzas, so if you don’t eat two pizzas, you can easily freeze the extra or eat pizza/flatbread two days in a row!

In Chicago, we can find a ball of dough (that makes two pizzas) for $3-$5. If you’re getting quoted $7-$10, you either need to be getting enough dough for 4-6 pizzas or you need to find another pizzeria!

We threw enough dough down for one pizza on a lightly floured surface.

There are lots of way to get a dough ready for pizza – you could stretch it with your hands, toss it in the air like a true Italian, or get the rolling pin. We opted for the pin.

Starting from the center and working our way out, we rolled our dough into a rustic roundish shape.



Putting the Pizza Together

Next, I pulled out my pizza peel. (Thanks to Mark for this gift a few months back… I think this “gift” was more of a “hint”! We are making more pizza!)

I lightly dusted the pizza peel with cornmeal and transferred the dough onto cornmeal. The cornmeal helps the pizza slide into the oven, and it creates a hearty base to the whole operation. (If you’re using a cast iron skillet or baking sheet, build the pizza directly on the baking surface.)


The number one mistake people make with pizza is overloading it with too many ingredients. The cornmeal serves as a nice test – if the pizza still moves when you shake the peel (or cutting board, or whatever you’re stacking your dough onto), then it’s still good! If you weigh it down with too many ingredients, it may not cook thoroughly (i.e. the dough may burn before the other ingredients are fully cooked).

We started the ingredients with a little olive oil…

Then we added the purple potato coins in an almost single layer.





Aromatic Goodness

FRESH ROSEMARY! I could smell this bundle all day long.

The flavor in this pizza comes from the rosemary! Feel free to chop it small or use the entire needle… Along with the rosemary, we seasoned the pie with salt and a generous helping of fresh ground pepper.


I like pressing the rosemary into the dough; when the pizza comes out of the oven, the crust transforms into an herby breadstick. Look at the bright purple potatoes!

Into the Oven

Transfer the pizza into the preheated oven! (425°F) Slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone (or just pop the cast iron skillet, baking sheet, etc. into the oven.)

While that’s baking for 12-15 minutes… here are some ideas for riffing on this particular meal:

Additional toppings that work well with this combination

A quarter cup of shredded mozzerella
Red pepper flakes (my favorite!)
Fresh garlic (one clove, cut into chips or finely chopped into the olive oil)
Replace 1/2 of the purple potato with pepperoni
A dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Torn fresh basil

…And she’s done!

Sometimes we cut this into traditional pizza wedges, other times we cut rectangular pieces.

It’s rare to find a recipe that works anytime of year, but Purple Potato Pizza is an ever present favorite!

Enjoy!

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