This pizza is one of the most popular dishes at Co., Jim Lahey’s New York pizza restaurant, a kind of warm spinach salad on a crust. Try it at home, and right after that first bite, you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular pies he’s ever devised. This recipe from Lahey’s book My Pizza (Clarkson Potter, March 2012), calls for baking the pizza, rather than placing it under the broiler. Enjoy — and prepare to devour one of the most delicious and easy-to-make homemade pizzas you’ve ever had.
Popeye Pie Recipe from My Pizza by Jim Lahey:
Makes one 10- to 12-inch pizza
1 ball of Pizza Dough, shaped and waiting on a floured peel (recipe follows)
1 medium garlic clove, grated
30 grams (about 1 ounce) pecorino fresco, cut into 1-inch cubes and slightly flattened by pressing between thumb and index finger
18 grams (1?3 cup) finely grated Gruyère cheese
50 grams (about 1 ¾ ounces) fresh mozzarella, pulled into shreds
2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
120 grams (about 4 ¼ ounces) fresh spinach
Generous pinch of fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for Drizzling
1. Place the pizza stone in a gas oven on the middle rack. Preheat the oven on bake at 500°F for 30 minutes. Switch to broil for 10 minutes and then back to bake at 500°F.
2. With the dough on the peel, sprinkle the surface evenly with the garlic. Distribute the pecorino, Gruyère, and mozzarella evenly over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with pepper.
3. With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Bake for 2 minutes.
4. Pull the rack partially out of the oven. Quickly add the spinach in what will look like a big mound (the spinach will reduce, the mound flattening, as spinach always does when it cooks). Sprinkle evenly with salt. Return the pie to the oven for 3½ to 4 minutes with gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the crust is charred in spots, but not as deeply as with the other pizzas in this book.
5. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Drizzle evenly with oil. Slice and serve immediately.
Pizza Dough Recipe:
Makes 4 balls of dough, enough for 4 pizzas
500 grams (17 ½ ounces or about 3 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
350 grams (1 ½ cups) water
1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°F) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.
3. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them: For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.
4. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.
Note: Don’t freeze the dough, but you can store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. In effect, when you’re set to use it, you have your own ready-made dough.