Since we haven’t had Spanish food “in a week” as Michael said to me Saturday, this weekend’s food festivities featured a lot of influence from the Iberian Peninsula, finishing with this delightful coca, or the Spanish version of pizza. The traditional coca is very minimal in ingredients–usually only one or two toppings–but I’ve read that more modern cocas do allow for some liberties in creativity, so taking some ideas from Cucinaria: Spain and Spanish Country Kitchen I decided our first Spanish coca would celebrate the height of the season: tomatoes and zucchini.
It was pretty damn awesome, but fraught with peril and some yelling.
Our dinner from the night before had left us with some leftover queso mahón cheese, so a little went down on the blond-baked dough (the better to hold watery vegetables with)..and then we quickly encountered our awful nemesis, The Most Sensitive Smoke Alarm EVER. This thing will go off when freaking STEAM hits it (seriously), so we’ve become accustomed to having a plan ready to put it in hush mode when it goes haywire for our pizza-making adventures. We’re paranoid that we’re going to be (rightly) yelled at by the upstanding members of the FDNY for taking up their time thanks to our annoying smoke alarm alerting them to come to our apartment, so we make sure we have windows open and fans a-blowing to suction heat away from the source. We also make sure that we have a broom handle handy to poke the damn button that puts it into “hush mode” quickly–but of course the first time that this happened last night none of them were readily handy.
So we yelled. I was at the dining room table poking around on the internet, as my contribution to the meal was done–making dough and slicing and grating cheese, so every time the damn alarm sounded I floundered out of my chair to turn the thing off. Michael ended up underneath it at one point as it kept blasting no matter how many times we pushed the button…and unsurprisingly he was a bit testy for a time afterward.
The coca and the pizza, of course, helped mollify our moods–the former was light with just about the right amount of cheese, and the second was hearty and salty with just the right amount of tomatoes and basil to balance with the cheese and prosciutto. Now that the weather is turning cooler and the humidity is finally mellowing out we can start experimenting with pizzas again; we just have to do something about that stupid smoke alarm.
Tomato, Zucchini and Mahón Cheese Coca/Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto Americano:
makes one of each
- 1 recipe pizza dough, divided
- 4 plum tomatoes: 2 sliced into thin rounds, the other two diced
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- 4 oz Queso Mahon
- Capers (optional)
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 4 oz prosciutto, diced
- 10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
- Olive oil
For both the coca and the pizza we blond-baked them to let them accommodate the heavy, somewhat wet ingredients. To do this, preheat the oven to the highest temperature (on bake), making sure there’s an upturned sheet pan lightly dusted with cornmeal inside. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal and stretch out each to desired size, and one at a time gently ease them into the oven from the pizza peel. Bake for about 6-8 minutes until the dough is firm but not brown. Remove from the oven, let cool slighlty, and start assembling the pizzas:
For the coca: sprinkle the cheese onto the pie, then arrange the zucchini and then the tomatoes on top. Season with salt and a little olive oil, and then place back into the oven and cook until the tomatoes are soft and the zucchini have browned slightly, about 5-7 minutes. About a minute before finishing, add the capers, and when the pie is ready, remove from the oven, let cool, slice and serve.
For the pizza: layer the cheese on first and then sprinkle the tomatoes and prosciutto on top. Season with salt (not as much is needed here because the prosciutto is salty) and add to the oven to let cook until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven, add the basil, let cool and then slice and serve.