My friend Linda invited me over for a pizza making party. She is an amazing cook, once very active in the local Slow Food chapter and she’s Italian, so she was clearly qualified to be leading this cook off. We were going to make blue cheese and fig jam pizzas, a recipe from one of her fave cookbooks by chef Todd English. He is apparently a big fan of figs; he even named his restaurant in Boston after the versatile fruit.
We were both making our own pizzas. Linda instructed me to roll and stretch out the dough very thin. I prefer a thicker crust, but bowed to the expert. She also told me English was a fan of unusual shapes, so not to attempt a traditional round and uniform shape. And so I pulled and pushed until I had achieved a most awkward looking shape. Then I spread on the black fig jam Linda had prepared earlier, also from English’s book. I crumbled on a big handful of blue cheese and plopped on blobs of the gorgonzola. Meanwhile, Linda was quietly making hers: a thick-crusted symmetrical shape. We sprinkled on some fresh rosemary and decided at the last minute to add some chopped walnuts.
When the pizzas were ready, I did a taste test.
“Hmmm, my crust is more like a cracker,” I said. “Yes, that’s the way they are in Italy,” she said.
Then I bit into a slice of her pizza, a thick, chewy crust and a delicate balance of sweet and savoury. “I only put gorgonzola on mine,” she fessed up, “the blue cheese has a harsher taste.” One instruction she neglected to give me.
When she urged me to take pizza home, I took most of her figgin’ leftovers. Pizza revenge.