Cast Iron Tortilla Pizza

As I’ve mentioned before, all food is basically an iteration of a previous idea, and while this easy pizza recipe is pretty much a direct copy of Kenji’s brilliant technique, I’ve made adaptations over the years that suit it to my tastes. The thin, crispy result from using a tortilla instead of actual dough is a dead ringer for the nostalgic Domino’s thin crust pizza, and simple, high quality ingredients make the finished product a game-changer.

This is one of my favorite things to make, whether its just for myself and Cristina, or as a snack for a larger group. The pizzas tend to disappear more rapidly than I can crank them out in either case.

Once the prep is done, each pizza can be executed in about 4-5 minutes. When making larger quantities, I do 2 at once in small cast iron or non-stick pans. I use 6″ tortillas because they fit nicely in the pans I have, but if you have a larger skillet, larger tortillas will work. It’s important that you finish these under the broiler. Different ovens have different styles of broilers, so get familiar with yours to make sure you get that high direct heat to finish the pizza.

(Each small pizza serves 1/2 a person)

Ingredients

  • 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 pack shredded Italian style cheese blend or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 14 ounce can high quality San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 whole stick pepperoni with natural casing (Boars Head a good one to look for…skip the pre-sliced stuff)
  • 1 whole spicy italian pork sausage
  • Mushrooms and jalapeƱos, sliced thinly, or any other toppings your heart desires
  • Grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • A few basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Toasted breadcrumbs (instructions included below)

 

Instructions

  1. For the toasted breadcrumbs, heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add about a cup of panko bread crumbs and 1 tsp garlic powder. Mix to coat everything and toast for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring frequently with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool then to a small container. These will keep at room temperature for a week or two.
  2. For the pizza sauce, add the whole San Marzano tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and about 1 TBSP olive oil to small food processor or the bowl of your best friend the almighty hand blender. Pulse for a few seconds to form a sauce. That’s literally it….high quality tomatoes don’t need much to become a perfect, minimalistic pizza sauce.
  3. Remove sausage from its casing and cook over medium-high heat in a small pan, breaking up along the way into small pieces until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. I actually use the same pan to toast the breadcrumbs, then brown the sausage, then cook the pizzas, wiping clean in between. Set sausage aside in a small bowl.
  4. Mise en place. Prepare the rest of your toppings in as organized a fashion as you can. Slice pepperoni into about 1/8″ slices, slice mushrooms and jalapeƱos, or whatever else and have ready. Assembling these pizzas is going to go really fast, so you want all the ingredients handy.
  5. Pre-heat your broiler to the highest possible setting for about 5 minutes. Add about 1 TBSP oil to a cast iron or small non-stick skillet over high heat. Olive oil has a lower smoking point, so can actually get a little bitter in this application, so canola or grape seed oil might be a better choice.
  6. Add a flour tortilla to the pan, then immediately add about 2 TBSP pizza sauce to the center and spread out thinly and evenly edge to edge. Add a small handful of cheese…I prefer less cheese personally, and since it melts and spreads out, if you cover the entire thing with cheese out of the gate, you’re going to have a completely misbalanced finished product. However, I do like the crispy cheesy bits around the edges…it’s part of what makes this pizza as awesome as it is.
  7. Add whatever other toppings you want, then finish with a bit of parmesan and a little bit of olive oil. The time these steps will take should be plenty of time on the stove, about 60-90 seconds, then throw under the broiler for 2-3 more minutes.
  8. Remove from broiler (remember to use a towel…the pan will be hot…I’ve made that mistake before) once the top has a slightly browned finish to it, and use a spatula to check the bottom surface. You’re looking for deeply browned to slightly blackened. Sometimes another minute on the stove over high heat can achieve this. Sometimes maybe you overdid it because the initial heat on the stove was too much. Adjust and move on to your next one (even the ones that look burned are still delicious).
  9. Finish with toasted breadcrumbs, more parmesan, and basil leaves. Slice into quarters and watch them disappear immediately.

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