Skillet Neopolitan Pizza

Makes 4 10-inch pizzas, active time 30 minutes

16 ounces (about 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
.3 ounces (about 2 1/3 teaspoons) kosher salt, plus extra for assembly
.2 ounces (about 1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
12 ounces water
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes packed in juice
1 (12 to 16-ounce) ball buffalo mozzarella or fresh cow’s milk mozzarella, at room temperature
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Handful fresh basil leaves

Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Whisk until homogenous. Add water and stir with hands until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Dough will be very sticky. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 16 hours.

Turn dough out onto heavily floured board and using floured hands, divide into four pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place on floured board, leaving a few inches of space between each ball. Cover with plastic wrap or with a well-floured clean dish towel. Let rise for two hours.

Meanwhile, roughly blend tomatoes in a food processor, blender, with a hand blender, or by hand. Season to taste with salt. Roughly tear mozzarella into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks and squeeze out excess whey.
When dough has risen, gently stretch one dough ball on a well-floured board into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Gently lift dough and drape across knuckles, slowly stretching it out by rotating it around your knuckles until it’s about 10 inches across.

Preheat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water dropped on its surface forms a bead that skids around (about 500 to 600°F). Carefully transfer dough to skillet and cover with tight-fitting lid. Cook until bottom side is very lightly browned and dough has puffed up in spots, about 1 minute. Remove dough with a metal spatula. deflate all bubbles in the center of the dough, leaving bubbles around the edges.

Flip dough and return to skillet so that the cooked side is now facing up. cook, shaking occasionally until the dough is darkly charred in spots. Remove to cutting board and invert (so that first-cooked side is now back on the bottom)

If using a blow torch: carefully torch edges of crust until roughly charred and browned in spots. Continue with step 8. If using a gas burner: Place pizza dough top-side down (the side you cooked second facing down) with the very edge hanging over the edge of the skillet. Cook the overhanging edge directly over the flame of a gas burner until well-charred. Rotate pizza so new section is overhanging edge and char again. Repeat until entire crust edge is charred. Continue with step 8. Alternatively, place a wire cooling rack directly over the burner flame. Invert pizza dough and use flame from burner to char and brown the edges of the crust. Continue with step 8. If using an electric burner: Proceed to step 8.

Make sure dough is facing right-side up (it should be facing the same way it was when you first put it in the skillet). Spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce over the dough, leaving the risen bubbly edges uncovered. Scatter a few pieces of mozzarella and a few basil leaves over the pizza. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Return pizza to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until bottom is nicely charred and mozzarella is melted, about 3 minutes longer. If using torch, you can use it to help melt the cheese.

Serve pizza immediately. Repeat steps 4 through 8 with remaining three balls of dough.

Miso Butterscotch

3/4 cup cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup miso (red miso is a bit salty for truly sweet applications)
3/4 cup brown sugar

1. Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts.

2. Stir in the miso and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened and shiny, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add a little more sugar if you think it’s too salty (remember, you’ll be using it in savory dishes).

3. Use right away or refrigerate, well covered, for up to 1 week and rewarm before using to loosen it up.

Yield: About 2 cups

Possible additions: Chopped nuts; some sesame oil instead of butter; some honey instead of brown sugar.

Possible uses: On poached pears or apples; marinade for meat; braising base for sturdy vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, turnips or new potatoes; sundae sauce — especially over fruit ice creams or sorbets

Miso Mayo

2 tablespoons miso
1 cup mayonnaise

1. Stir the miso into the mayonnaise (homemade is best) until smooth.

2. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.Yield: 1 cup.

Possible additions: Grated ginger, honey, brown sugar or agave syrup; chopped pickles (or pickled vegetables); chopped chives or shiso leaves.

Possible uses: Dip for sweet-potato fries; smeared on croutons to serve with fish soups (like rouille or bouillabaisse); to make a gratinée of simple cooked vegetables with bread crumbs; as an aioli.

Miso Butter

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons miso
Freshly ground pepper (optional).

1. Cream the butter and miso together with a fork, adding black pepper if you like.

2. Use immediately, or roll into a log in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for cutting into slices later.

Makes: 4 to 8 servings.

Possible additions: Chopped scallions or chives; minced garlic, ginger or chili; lemon, lime or orange juice or citrus zest.

Possible uses: Melted onto fish, chicken or steak (lots of umami); on asparagus, broccoli or carrots; drizzled on a baked sweet potato (or a regular baked potato).

Miso Spice

Miso Spice

1/2 cup miso

1. Heat the oven to 175. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Smear the miso in an even layer, as thinly as possible, over the parchment. It’s O.K. if it’s ragged around the edges or even a little thick in places.

2. Bake, undisturbed, until large pieces of miso peel easily from the paper, about 3 hours. Turn the pieces and bake on the other side, until the miso crumbles easily, another 3 to 4 hours.

3. Let the miso cool, then crumble it with your fingers or grind finely in a spice mill or designated coffee grinder.(It keeps in the fridge in a sealed jar for months.)

Yield: About 1/4 cup.

Possible additions: Cayenne or other ground chilies; ground kombu or crumbled nori; sesame seeds.

Possible uses: Season a whole fish, croutons or bread crumbs; sprinkle the top of bread before baking; warm it in sesame or peanut oil for a bagna-cauda-style dip..