There was a time when I would have questioned putting a potato on a pizza -- two starches felt like overkill. But then a few years ago, my mom told me about a pizza she'd had with potatoes, fresh rosemary, and Parmesan, and I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Little did I realize I was a very late adopter of a classic combination. The key is making sure the potatoes are sliced paper-thin so they stay tender on the inside and slightly crisp around the edges. Layer these gossamer spuds over buttery leeks, add some creamy Taleggio, and finish it off with fresh thyme and grated Parmesan, and trust me -- the skeptic -- there's nothing lovelier.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek (white part only), cleaned and thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1 medium Russet potato, sliced paper thin (ideally with a mandoline)
1 ball pizza dough, thawed if frozen
About 3 ounces Taleggio cheese
Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 550°F.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the leeks and sprinkle with salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the water to the pan to keep them from browning and help them braise. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they meld together, another 8 to 10 minutes. They should have an almost jam-like consistency. (I usually have enough for at least 2 pizzas and just freeze the leftovers.)
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potato and cook until the water just returns to a boil--the slices should be tender but not thoroughly cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool. (If your slices are really, truly paper-thin, you can skip this step and use them raw, but they do need to be almost sheer.)
Spread the leeks evenly on the pizza crust using the back of a spoon, leaving about a 1-inch border all around and being careful not to tear the dough. Dot the leeks with walnut-size pieces of Taleggio. Place the potato slices on the crust in a single layer with the slices partially overlapping. Sprinkle the pie with the fresh thyme and some Parmesan.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is nicely browned, the edges of the potatoes have colored and begun to curl, and the cheese is melted, 6 to 10 minutes.
Layer these gossamer spuds over buttery leeks, add some creamy Taleggio, and finish it off with fresh thyme and grated Parmesan, and trust me -- the skeptic -- there's nothing lovelier.
From Truly Madly Pizza, by Suzanne Lenzer. Rodale Books, 2015.
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