If you haven't been to Sal's Pizza, you should. It's probably the best and freshest pizza I've ever had in my life. And luckily it's several blocks from my house. Everything they use in their restaurant is farmed and raised within a short radius of the restaurant. It's amazingly fresh. So fresh you can take the freshness of the milk in the cheese and the plumpness of the tomatoes in the sauce. Take the vegetable antipasto above. It's just overwhelmingly delicious and beautiful you thought they slaved days over the dish. Yet it's literally right from the market that day with a little of Sal's magic touches and pickling. The carrot pate in this antipasto is something you will not forget and also not really figure out how they did that so well. The burrata is also my favorite and it always sells out so come early to get this tasty bit of cheese heaven. They top their fresh made burrata with roasted garlic and place a side of warm, crispy bread. And last but not least the pizza. It's eye tearingly good. I think I cried a little the first time I tried their fig and bacon pie. It comes with Cabernet poached mission figs, gorgonzola, balsamic reduction and bacon! It's won a lot of awards and after your first bite you will know why too. The Fat Uncle Tony is also the best of meat on a pizza. All locally cured of course! I'm a real crust snob and this crust if perfectly crisp and chewy with a bit a char from the oven-as all good East Coast pizza's should be. Overall, Sal's is a must stop (if not many) for all visitors and residents of the Madison area. Tory Miller from our famed L'Etoile restaurant said that Sal's is the best restaurant in the Madison area. I also agree! I am pretty certain that these guys deserve a James Beard Award.
As you might know, I am a big fan of Jim Lahey's, No-Knead Bread Dough. But this is pretty much a similar process to the bread dough, except you make pizza from it. I topped it with carmelized onions, fresh garlic and slices of brie. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper! It is outstandingly delicious. I might play around with adding lemon zest, olive pieces and/or rosemary to the crust next time. Oh this pizza crust is soooo good! It's got a nice crispy crunch that sour dough has to it. It is a real crowd pleaser!
- Carmelized onions (cook slowly with about 1.5 tsp of sugar)
- Fresh Garlic
- Brie, sliced
For spinach white pizza:
- Salt & Pepper
For regular pizza:
- Sausage, pieces cooked
- Mushroom, slices
No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Co. Makes four 12-inch pizza crusts
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting ¼ teaspoon instant yeast 1½ teaspoons salt 1½ cups water
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°. I put it in a large bowl on top of the stove overnight.
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough balls with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
4. Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, cover with toppings and bake on top of a very hot pizza stone.