Pizza Porn: Bring Those Melons Over Here and Gimme a Piece

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watermelon, tomato and cheese
  • watermelon, tomato and cheese

I have no grand revelations to make in this post, but rather I just wanted to share some gratuitous food pornography. Lately when I encounter something I can't seem to find locally, I've been taking a "screw it, I'll do it myself" approach — first with coffee (but that's another story and another post), and now pizza.

Not that there aren't many fine options in Nashville. But when you live in Germantown and are feeling lazy, your options narrow significantly: get Jet's delivered and hate yourself for it; get Papa John's delivered and hate yourself and humanity in general for it; or walk to City House.

The last option is fine for those of you with fat-wallet-induced scoliosis, but for the more frugal among us, it's not always the best idea. Let's face it: "Let's get a pizza at City House" quickly turns into a pizza, two pizzas, a few sazeracs, a couple of beers, and ... oh, hey, that new bewildering dish with pork belly in it. The next thing you know, you've spent a healthy car payment on a Thursday dinner.

on the stone in the oven
  • on the stone in the oven

the requisite meat-lovers variant
  • the requisite meat-lovers variant
But I digress. Anyway, the point is: I made some pizza. It turned out pretty well. I had intended to capitalize on a secret for pizza stone procurement: apparently, a few pieces of what's called "quarry tile" — a tile of unglazed stone — can serve admirably for a pizza stone. It can be bought in various sizes convenient for use on a grill.

However, Home Depot doesn't carry quarry tile, so I'll have to shop around a bit. In the meantime, I held my nose and purchased a pizza stone at Williams-Sonoma for use in an oven. Yes, for all my talk of frugality, I spent $40 for a piece of rock. Oh well — next time.

Like I said: no grand revelations here, just some pictures and some ingredients of note. The stone was heated as hot as I could get it — around 500 Hotpoint oven degrees, which translates to anywhere from 300-500 normal degrees. I used an arbitrary mix of flour and cornmeal to help lubricate things on/off of the pizza stone. A romano/asiago mix and some mozzarella medallions served for the cheese, and a quick marinara made for the sauce.

The topping I loved the most was the watermelon — an idea stolen shamelessly from the Mad Platter, who used it recently on one of their flatbread starters. It really cooks well on a pizza, and has an awesome, subtle flavor. Spring it on some unsuspecting dinner guests sometime and see what they think. I actually thought it was tomato the first time I had it, and if I used it again I'd probably not mix it with tomato, as it stands in for tomato by itself just fine.

I was most worried about the crust. But it turned out fine: a basic chewy/bready crust made with some quick-rise yeast. But what I prefer is that slightly bubbly thin crust with a mix of crispiness and chewiness that City House seems to have mastered. Anyone have any tips/secrets for achieving this? Because that's next on my agenda — along with trying it on the grill.

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