When it comes to choosing pizza toppings, I'm always looking for seasonality. The tomatoes are canned products, so they taste good all year round. Otherwise, I like to see what veg is at its best, and even cheeses – I'll see what Neal's Yard has, or what makes sense for the season.
In the winter you want something a bit heartier and more cheesy, versus the summer when you want something with a lighter, more acidic treatment, perhaps some raw veggies on top.
For example, during the new year we were doing a sunchoke (jerusalem artichoke) pizza, because we were collaborating with Natoora and its farm had a lot of those. There were finely chopped, roasted sweet sunchokes on the bottom, then a layer of boiled winter aromatics: rosemary, thyme and garlic.
And then thinly sliced miyagawa, which is a kind of green mandarin orange, on top, with a salsa verde. It's typically made with parsley and other softer herbs, but we did ours with sage, some rosemary, thyme, parsley and capers, because those are the herbs growing in the UK right now. It was then topped with dried orange and taleggio cheese.
If you're looking to make great pizza at home, the first thing I'd suggest is to get a good pizza stone for your oven. That's critical. You need a really hot surface to cook the pizza on, or you can do it in a pan. Get that pan super hot, start it on the stove top and finish it in the oven.
To make great pizza at home, you need a good pizza stone for your oven. That's critical. You need a really hot surface
Many nerds will say if you stack multiple stones you can get a better result, but obviously that's a bit more complicated. If you want to splurge, there are pizza ovens that can sit on your counter and don't have to be outside. Sage Appliances has the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo. You can make a very good pizza in it, and I've done a few pop-ups with it.
As for how to make a knockout base, it really depends on your comfort level with dough. If you haven't worked with sourdough before, go ahead with your standard yeasted pizza dough. That's a good way to learn how it should feel and get a good result. Once you've practised, then you can try the more advanced stuff.
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There are so many different styles of pizza dough, so it depends what kind of pizza you want to make. Our pizza dough is different from a lot of other pizza places because I have an idea of the kind of pizza I want to make given the tools that I have. A novice should start with a pizza flour, something made for purpose.
You need some strength in the flour, so that you can get that open crumbs and so that it can stretch. A lot of people would go with a bread flour or a 00 flour. But really, it can be as complicated and as nuanced as you want it to be.