Monday, March 4, 2013

Maltese Ftji'ra (Pizza)

Maltese Ftji'ra (Pizza)
(Yields 1 large pizza)

The Maltese Ftji'ra (pronounced 'ftira') is a Mediterranean style pizza that is an explosion of flavour. Not only is it easy to make, but it incorporates very simple, colourful ingredients. While many may not enjoy the taste of anchovies, the salt in the fish adds punch to this pizza which enhances the different flavours of this dish.    

Alcohol Pairings
Beer: Kichesippi  Natural Blonde
Wine: VQA Pinot Noir

What you need:

1 store bought fresh pizza dough
2-3 tbsp. flour
3 tomatoes
3 onions
6-8 pitted olives  (variety of colours)
8 anchovy fillets
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. black ground pepper
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 Scotch Bonnet pepper, chopped
4-5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

How to make it happen:

1.  Remove the pizza dough from the plastic bag and place in a bowl (Note: Cover the bowl with a cloth  to allow the dough to continue to rise until you are ready to prepare the pizza).

2.  Preheat the oven to 410 degrees F.

3.  Drizzle the pizza pan with olive oil and heat the pan until the olive oil is warm.

4.  Next, cut the tomatoes and onions into slices and chop the olives into pieces, removing the pits. Set the toppings aside for later.   

5.  Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll with a rolling pin until the dough is slightly larger than the baking sheet and no thinner than 1/2 an inch in thickness. Do not spread the dough too thinly since it will not be able to carry the weight of the ingredients.

6.  Carefully transfer the dough onto the oiled baking sheet.  Ensure the corners and edges are firmly set in place once the dough is transferred to the baking sheet. You must work quickly- the dough does not stay in one place. (Note: If possible, have someone help you transfer the dough onto the baking sheet- it makes the job easier and more manageable).

7. Once the dough is set in place, spread the sliced tomatoes, onions, olive pieces and anchovy fillets onto the pizza dough, ensuring the toppings are evenly distributed.  Add the chopped garlic, peppers and black ground pepper for flavour and spice. Finally, sprinkle the pizza with fresh basil and sesame seeds and drizzle the top of the pizza with olive oil.

8.  Bake the pizza for 30 minutes at 410 degrees F,  or until the pizza is golden brown. Ensure the pizza has time to cool before serving.

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