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Three Tortilla Pizzas

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A recipe from Jacques Pépin, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen.

video Jacques Pépin: Margarita Pizza

  1. I enjoy making pizza from scratch and occasionally make a pissaladière, the famous pizza from the South of France. Garnished with onion and a crisscross of anchovy fillets and black olives, it is a staple from Nice to Marseille. In the last few years, I have taken on the habit of making quick pizzas, sometimes using pita bread or lavash as a base, but more often than not using flour tortillas, because I always have a package of them in my refrigerator. They come in different sizes, from 6 to 10 inches, and even in 12-inch disks. These tortilla pizzas are ideal to serve when people come for drinks, or when we play boules and share a bottle of white wine.
  2. I use 10-inch tortillas as the base for my toppings and cook these pizzas at 500°. Sprinkle olive oil on a sturdy cookie sheet or jellyroll pan and press the tortillas in the oil to coat them well on one side, then turn them over to oil the other side. (Editor's note: For all the pizzas that follow, we had the best results baking them on a preheated pizza stone.)
  3. For a MARGARITA PIZZA, sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese on top of an oiled tortilla. Add 1 thinly sliced 4-ounce tomato, a good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper and a good cup (about 4 ounces) of shredded mozzarella. (Buffalo mozzarella is best, if you can get it.) Sprinkle on a little more salt and pepper and top with 1 tablespoon of good olive oil.You can bake the tortillas on an oven stone or directly on the cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and crisp. Let rest out of the oven for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded basil. Cut the pizza into 8 wedges and serve.
  4. I love to make SEAFOOD PIZZA in the summer, when there are plenty of clams. For each pizza, use 1 dozen shucked cherrystone clams and 8 medium shelled shrimp. Oil both sides of the tortilla as indicated above. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese on the tortilla and arrange the shrimp and shucked clams on top. Add 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic (this is a lot of garlic, but it is needed!), a dash of herbes de Provence, about 3 tablespoons minced scallions, a little chopped jalapeño, if you like, or a dash of Tabasco for "heat." Sprinkle on another 1 1/2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and then drizzle 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil on top. Bake at 500° for 5 to 6 minutes, or until crusty. Let rest for a minute or so, then sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley. Cut into 8 wedges, and serve.
  5. My third pizza, a SALMON GRAVLAX PIZZA, is served cold. Half a pound of skinless, boneless, salmon fillet makes enough gravlax for two 10-inch pizzas. Cut the salmon into 8 thin slices and arrange them in a single layer on a platter. Mix together 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle half evenly over the salmon slices, turn the slices over and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning mixture. Spread a thin coating of oil on the slices, just enough to make the salmon shiny, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the salmon. Refrigerate to cure; it will be ready in an hour or less, although you can leave it overnight or even for up to 1 day.
  6. Prebake the tortillas for this pizza. Coat the tortillas with olive oil, using 1/2 teaspoon on each side. Place the tortillas on a cookie sheet and top with another cookie sheet to prevent the tortillas from curling. Bake in a 500° oven for 5 minutes, until crisp and browned. Let cool.
  7. Coat the tortillas with about 1/4 cup of sour cream, then spread on about 1 tablespoon of freshly grated or storebought horseradish. Arrange 4 slices of salmon gravlax on top of each tortilla and sprinkle about 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion on top of each. Cut 12 pitted oil-cured black olives into pieces and scatter them over the pizzas. Finally, coarsely tear 15 basil leaves into pieces and top the pizzas with the basil. Cut each pizza into 8 pieces. Just before serving, I like to sprinkle on a little fleur de sel for a bit of a crunch.
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