Pizza with spinach with fetta, semi-dried tomatoes and olives
If Popeye had made a pizza, I think this is the one he would have created.
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- Olive oil
- 150g baby spinach, washed and stems removed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Semolina or plain flour, for dusting
- 170g pizza dough ball
- 80ml pizza sauce
- 9 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 50g shredded mozzarella cheese
- 30g fetta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 10 semi-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
- Squeeze of lemon, to serve
- For the pizza dough
- 250ml lukewarm water
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, for greasing
- 475 g strong flour, plus extra for dusting*
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- For the pizza sauce
- 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
For the dough: in a small bowl, mix the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar together until combined, then leave in a warm place for five minutes or until frothy. Stir in the olive oil. Sift the strong flour and salt together into a large bowl. Pour the yeast mixture over the dry ingredients and use your hands to bring the mixture together to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and use the heel of your hands to work the dough for five minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease the inside of a clean dry bowl with oil and place the dough inside. Place a tea towel over the dough and leave in a warm place to prove for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Dust a clean work surface lightly with the extra flour and tip out the dough. Use your fists to knock the dough back with one good punch to let any air out. Before you portion the dough into separate balls, refer to the pizza recipe for measures. Once you've separated your dough into portions, and working with one portion at a time, use the palm of your hands to cup the dough and roll it on the work surface in a circular motion to form a perfect ball. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Place the dough balls on a lightly greased baking tray, cover and leave in a warm place to prove for 15 minutes.
Makes 750g, roughly enough for four 30-centimetre pizzas
For the pizza sauce: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Note: this sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
This was on the menu at a good mate's pizza store, just up the road from where I used to live, called Doughboy. The owner, Tony, was generous enough to let me work in his store before I opened my own restaurant, so I could see exactly how a good pizza store was run. This was my favourite pizza at Doughboy, so it would be a crime to leave it out of this pizza book. Thanks Tony!
For the toppping: heat a frying pan with a touch of olive oil over medium heat and, when hot, add spinach. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until wilted. Place the wilted spinach on a clean tea towel to remove any excess water.
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 250C or its highest temperature. Once it has reached the temperature, it will take about 15 minutes for the pizza stone to heat up. Lightly dust a clean work surface with semolina or flour, then roll out the dough ball into a 30-centimetre round that is about three millimetres thick. Transfer the pizza base onto a piece of baking paper; this is necessary for transferring the assembled pizza to the heated pizza stone. Prick the pizza base all over with a fork.
Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the pizza base, then spread the spinach over the top. Add the olives and sprinkle over the shredded mozzarella and fetta. Finish with the chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the pizza onto the heated pizza stone.
Cook the pizza in the oven for five to 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Using a pizza paddle or wide spatula, carefully transfer the pizza to a chopping board or plate. Sprinkle the semi-dried tomatoes over the pizza and serve with a good squeeze of lemon.