As an American living in France, I have had many occasions to complain about the pizza here. Thin, poorly garnished, and expensive, minus one exception in Pézenas and two exceptions in the village of Aulnoye-Aymeries, one of which was stolen from my hands as I exited the restaurant. “Bon Appétît!!!” was all I could think of to yell at the hooded hooligan as he disappeared into an alley with my dinner. Needless to say, good pizza is hard to come by.
Though usually Bastien tries to stand up for his nation when I complain about it, he agrees with me on the pizza point, except for a fond memory of lunch in the suburbs of Paris during an internship in 2003…
He would have lunch a few times a week at a small pizza shop. His order never changed: a cheeseless pizza composed of tomato sauce, prosciutto and cream. The pizza chef would reheat a slice of already cooked pizza with sauce, then top it with a slice of prosciutto and douse the slice in fresh cream. Bastien has evoked this pizza a number of times when thoughts of its fresh aromas would come haunting his memory, and so I tried to recreate it.
To my delight, this is a good pizza idea. I was skeptical about the missing cheese, but the cream makes up for it.
Here is my quick recipe. Homemade tomato sauce is by far better than canned. You can buy canned tomatoes, sprinkle them with sugar, salt, spices, herbs, garlic, cooked onion, cook at a low heat for at least 30 minutes, add a splash of olive oil…mmm!
A quick hint: This pizza is even better the second day. Re-heat the slices minus the prosciutto and cream. When they are warm and crunchy, top with prosciutto and cream.
Recipe for easy peasy pizza from the suburbs of Paris
- pizza dough: I used the recipe for the tarte au maroilles, replacing the butter with olive oil and milk with water
- tomato sauce with spices and herbs
- olive oil
- heavy cream, crème fraîche, or even sour cream might do it
Tomato sauce: We make our own in the summer by boiling tomatoes and canning or freezing them. To make your own tasty sauce, add some salt, a spoonful of sugar, and any spices that you have… oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, and even some coriander, turmeric, or other interesting spices. I even add a sprinkle of mint sometimes.
Heat oven to about 400°F.
Roll out dough into a circle, cover with sauce and sprinkle with olive oil. Bake in the bottom third of the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough looks done.
Slice into triangles, cover each with a thin slice of prosciutto, and add a dash of heavy cream or crème fraîche.