The best things about prosciutto crudo or jamon serrano on a pizza? Either one turns a little crunchy, concentrates quite a bit, and flavors the cheese.
Yield: Makes 1 pie (double or triple the recipe if you’ve got kids in the house)
Olive oil for greasing the baking sheet
1-pound purchased pizza dough from the supermarket or a pizza parlor (if frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator); or one 16-inch prebaked plain pizza crust
2 ounces mozzarella, grated
2 small Roma or plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
10 basil leaves, shredded
One 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and squeezed of all excess moisture
3 ounces prosciutto crudo or jamon serrano, thinly sliced and then diced
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (see Notes)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Dab some olive oil on a wadded-up paper towel and use it to grease a large baking sheet, Lay the fresh dough on the sheet; dimple the dough with your fingertips as you begin to press it out into a rectangular shape to fit the baking sheet. Continue stretching and pulling the dough until it’s a rough 6½-by-10-inch rectangle. If you’re working with a prebaked crust, you can skip this step entirely-just set it right on an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the perimeter. Top with the diced tomato and the basil.
4. Slice the artichoke hearts into halves the long way and sprinkle these over the pie, Top with ham; then sprinkle the Parrnigiano-Reggiano, oregano, and red pepper flakes over the other toppings.
5. Set the pie on its baking sheet in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the crust is firm to the touch, about 18 minutes. Transfer the pie on its baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you slice it into squares or wedges.
The Ingredient Scoop
To seed a Roma or plum tomato, first cut in half lengthwise. Holding it over the sink, run your finger into the chambers to dislodge the seeds and their watery packets. Why go to all this trouble? Those very packets will bog the pizza down, turning the crust into a gummy nightmare.
Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italian, pahr-MIJ-ee-AHN-oh rehj-ee-AHN-oh) is a hard Italian cheese, made from part-skim, grass-fed, raw milk produced between April 1st and November 11th of any given year. Its hard, shell-like rind should be stamped with the cheese’s name and place of origin for authenticity. Buy a chunk from a larger wheel, a chunk with the rind still attached-but the thinnest part of rind possible to cut down on any extra cost. (Once most of the cheese has been grated away, that rind can be frozen in a sealed plastic bag for up to one year and then tossed into a bean or greens soup to make the broth richer.) Grate the cheese using a microplane, a cheese grater, or the small holes of a box grater.
If you’re using a prebaked pizza crust, search for one without other spices or toppings, even grated cheese, The plainer the better for this pie, so the taste of the ham and the balance of other flavors are not overshadowed.