segunda-feira, 29 de setembro de 2008

" A PIZZA IS BORN "

It’s almost August in Lisbon, I decided to stick around and enjoy the peacefulness of this diverse and alternative city without all the usual traffic.While most of you were out and about working on your tan line this past summer, I was in my kitchen at La Brus”K”etta working on a different tan-one which involved “tanning the perfect pizza dough”...



Ever remodel your kitchen at home and have to put up with some bothersome issues which call for an aspirin and a good night sleep? Something about dealing with renovations….need I say more?  After it all came together it was time to play with my imported oven from Italy and patiently await the arrival of my teacher -Paolo.

Pizza dough can become extremely temperamental-almost that of a 4yr old child not getting his/her way! If it’s not handled correctly or left unattended chances are it becomes over worked and extremely difficult to put up with.Even a chef with my experience needs a little coaching once in a while-especially the kind of couching to help bring back some memories of my “teenage pizza days”. May sound easy but making the perfect pizza dough can be as difficult as making the perfect eggs over easy,“bacalhau com natas” or a smooth “leite creme”…practice definitely makes perfect!

A pizza man isn’t just about mixing water and flour. It involves understanding the dough’s silky exterior touch and delicate cushion consistency! Lucky for me, “Paolo o Pizzaiolo” a native “Napoletano” from my home town Ottaviano-Napoli was here to remind me of those forgotten “pizza tricks” and also added some new ones in order for us to reach perfection.

After our “espresso stretto”, we would head down to La Brus”K”etta. Our primary goal…to create the most scrumptious pizza’s ever to hit Lisbon.With his knowledge and my background using Portugal’s tasty ingredients- La Brus“K”etta was about to give birth to the new Portuguese Pizza’s! The menu would later develop-making sure we kept tradition alive by adding the “motherships” of pizza  such as a “margherita” and a “marinara” to the list. It doesn’t get more “simple tasty” than that ! Just the right amount of mozzarella cheese-or not.A true test with these two pizza's-you need to taste the freshness of  that ripe and juicy "seeded red fruit"-the fresh tomato!

We were able to reach our perfect batch of dough after the second attempt. The only ingredients we did not import, fresh yeast and water. We lucked out! “Lisbon’s water is not much different from that of Napoli. Come to think of it-the people, the way to prepare food and the family bonds here are not that much different from us ”, said Paolo.

It was time to put the pizzas to the test. Following the waiters to the dining room and keeping our distance, we were able to see the first reaction after the initial bite. We were content with all the happy faces shortly followed by plenty of “mmmm’s”!

Now for the fun part-Paolo could not understand why people were cutting the pizza with a knife and fork. I explained that Portuguese have some of the best table manors and “know how to eat” - no matter what background they come from. A napkin to pick up finger food, a knife and fork when seated at the table-always!

The reason for Paolo’s shock; pizza gets “butchered” when cutting it with a knife and fork. In order to get the full flavor-one needs to pick up the slice and eat as if you would a sandwich-which brings us to the reason why a pizza pie is sliced in the first place. Don’t worry about the paparazzi or neighboring friends-savor the true flavors of this flour and water creation without utensils and allow it to show its "casual romantic side"…grab that slice!

Chef Guerrieri

5 comentários:

Vasco M. Grilo disse...

Chef,

I'm so happy to see your attempt to bake a pizza with a Portuguese twist to it. I've tried to no avail to cook different pasta dishes to my Italian wife involving Portuguese staples like choriço or similar "affettati". I only got rejection and despise in exchange!!
Next visit to Lisbon we'll come down to La Brus"K"etta (which I do not yet have the pleasure to know) and I hope you'll be able to surprise her with some "Luso-Italo fusion"!!

Chef Guerrieri disse...

Hello Vasco
I would highly suggest to tempt her palate with a Pizza Marinara as a starter-it will bring back the flavor of Napoli.Then for a little "tasty twist"-try the codfish pizza with black olive pesto -one of my favorites...or the fresh sausage with grelos. Should help to "score points with the Mrs".
Chef G

Sofia Rocha disse...

Chef,

I am happy to see that you have kept your promise about writing!
I don´t know this other restaurant of yours. But it sure looks like the place to go.
Tell me, is it a child friendly place? If it is, sounds like a great place for sunday´s lunch time!

chef guerrieri disse...

Sofia-very kid and family friendly. Moms are even thanking me for finally giving their kids some "real ingredients in pizza to digest".
About the Sunday,good idea-will let the schedule go as is for a while.No promises ;)

Vasco M. Grilo disse...

Chef, codfish and olive pesto plus sausage and grelos pizza is beyond "fusion". It is the Portuguese soul taking you over. Sounds delicious.
What next? Timballo di Sardine?
Thanks for the great cooking marital advice....