Tortilla Pizzas

Tortilla Pizzas

Excerpted from Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook by Jacques Pépin. Reprinted by permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Copyright 2007 by Jacques Pépin.

Makes 3 pizzas, with 8 small servings per pizza

In the last few years, with the availability of many flatbreads at the supermarket, I have taken on the habit of making quick pizzas, sometimes using pita bread or lavash as a base, but more often than not using flour tortillas, because I always have a package of them in my refrigerator. They come in different sizes, from 6 to 10 inches, and even in 12-inch disks. These tortilla pizzas are ideal to serve when people come for drinks, or when we play boules and share a bottle of white wine.

1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.

2. Oil a tortilla round for each pizza you plan to make: sprinkle olive oil on a sturdy cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, and press the tortillas in the oil on the tray to coat them well on one side, and then turn them over, so they are oiled on the other side.

3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese on top of an oiled tortilla. Add 1 thinly sliced 8-ounce tomato, a good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a good cup of grated mozzarella (about 4 ounces); buffalo mozzarella is best, if you can get it.

4. Sprinkle on a little more salt and pepper, and top with about 1 tablespoon of good olive oil. You can cook the tortillas directly on the cookie sheet or directly on an oven stone, using a wooden peel to transfer them.

5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and crisp. Let the pizzas rest out of the oven for a couple of minutes, and then sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded basil (from about 12 leaves). Cut into 8 wedges, and serve with a glass of your favorite wine.

LYNNE'S TIPS

Think of this recipe as a guideline for improvising. Toppings are limited only by your imagination. For example, try other vegetables like thinly sliced summer squash, sweet onions, and sliced baby Portobello mushrooms. Add a few slices of prosciutto or hard Italian salami like Genoa or even pepperoni. Substitute fontina cheese for the mozzarella. Experiment.

For testing we used a pizza stone with excellent results. You could also use unglazed terracotta tiles instead of stone. If you don't have either, not to worry; a cookie sheet is fine.