It’s been a long time since I lived in New York, but if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still transport myself to my favorite spots, still hear my favorite sounds (guy on the stoop rockin’ on the accordion, I’m talkin’ at you), and taste my favorite foods.
Two New York foods I keep at the ready for my daydreameatings are chocolate ice and potato pizza. I had not eaten either of these since moving to the West Coast, and I miss them terribly. I’ve got a recipe for chocolate granita somewhere that I keep meaning to try, but I just know I won’t get it right. And I’d have to find those little paper cups to serve it in…anyway, too much of a hassle for what would likely be a huge disappointment.
So that leaves potato pizza. This was the treat I would get after my lunchtime optometrist appointments. I worked downtown and my optometrist was in Chinatown, upstairs from a furniture shop. (It didn’t have its own door—you had to walk through the furniture shop and find the secret staircase up to the office!) Anyhoo, after the appointment I would walk back up Broadway and stop in Dean & Deluca to grab an Orangina and a piece of potato pizza. Ritual.
I don’t even know what bakery they got it from, but I can only assume it’s super famous in some circles and it wins tons of fancy awards, because this onion-potato-rosemary-olive-oily flatbread is indeed the jam. Served as a room-temp, palm-size rectangle of starch and oil and herb, it really is a treat.
Oh, and it turns out, super easy to make. Let’s.
What you need:
• dough for one thin pizza (half of your favorite 3 cups flour, 1 cup water…recipe), room temperature
• one yellow/sweet onion, for somewhere reaching 1 cup, sliced thin and cut in half
• one giant russet potato (or a pair of medium potatoes), peeled and sliced suuuuper thin
• as much fresh rosemary as you can handle, just the leaves, no stems
• olive oil, salt, and pepper
What you do with it:
Get your oven preheating to 475°F.
I’m not kidding here about the suuuuper thin potatoes. Like potato-chip thin. You want to see light through them. I have a mandoline slicer that sits in a drawer 364 days a year. This is where it earns its keep. If your potatoes are not thin enough, they will not cook through and you’ll end up with potatoes on bread. So slice those potatoes, and if you’re afraid they’ll go brown while you’re working and stick them in cold water, make sure you dry them out on a tea towel before go-time. Slice the onions as thin as possible as well, while you’ve got that mandoline out.
Toss the potatoes and onions in just a touch of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Throw in some of your rosemary leaves, but make sure to set some aside—as you lay out the potatoes you’re going to want plenty of rosemary on top, for the pretty.
Room-temp dough is key, especially when you want a thin crust. If you’re pulling your dough from the fridge or freezer, give it ample time to come to temp or it’ll fight you as you try to stretch it and you’ll end up with a thicker, denser crust—not what we’re looking for here. Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with olive oil and push the dough all the way to the edges and corners. Give it time and patience so you’ve got an even, thin layer. If it’s not going to the edges or is otherwise being fussy, walk away and let it rest a few minutes, then try again. Brush the top with olive oil and bake for about 5 minutes and pull it out to top it.
On your par-baked crust, lay out your potatoes, scallop style. The sliced onion will come along for the ride. You’re going to want two full layers but not much more or it won’t cook through (see earlier “potatoes on bread” note). Wound up with extra potato and onion? Wrap it in clingyfilm and cook it up with breakfast!
After topping with remaining rosemary, pop it back in the oven (top-rack this bad boy) for 10-ish minutes. The crust will be crispy and brown and the potatoes on top will start to curl up and brown. If your crust bottom is brown but your potatoes up top don’t look done, try the broiler for a little bit. Then get it on to a cooling rack until you can handle it enough to cut into rectangles.
Then let it cool some more. Yes, it’s going to smell so good that you’re going to want to dig in. And who’s looking? Go ahead and try a little piece! But as it comes to room temperature, the flavors come together, the starches bind and set, and then it’s really ready enough to make you not freak out about new glasses costing you four freaking hundred dollars.
Seriously, this is great for next-day lunches, picnics, camping/hiking, marathoning Game of Thrones—anytime you can’t be bothered with refrigeration or reheating. And while it may not make you think of New York, it’s still pretty damn good.