Cal­zone fi­nally gets some re­spect

The Standard Journal - - Food: What's cooking? - By MAR­I­AL­ISA CALTA

Pity the poor cal­zone. First cousin to the pizza, about which tens of thou­sands of words have been writ­ten, the cal­zone is vir­tu­ally ig­nored by food schol­ars.

Nei­ther “The Ox­ford Com­pan­ion to Food” nor “The Ox­ford Com­pan­ion to Ital­ian Food” has a sin­gle en­try for cal­zone. Even menu writ­ers give it no re­spect, adding it as an af­ter­thought to the pizza of­fer­ings.

What is known is that the dough-filled pocket has a long his­tory dat­ing back to an­cient Egypt, when it was ap­par­ently pop­u­lar with the pharaohs. The cal­zone is a rel­a­tive of Cor­nish pasties, Ger­manRus­sian fleis­chkuekle, Span­ish em­panadas and Brazil­ian pas­tels. It’s a dis­tant rel­a­tive of turnovers, strudels, dumplings and other foods that in­volve a crust and a fill­ing. Like pizza, the mod­ern-day cal­zone was in­vented in Naples. (The word is from the Ital­ian for “trouser”; the plu­ral should be “cal­zoni” but is usu­ally “cal­zones.”)

While pizza it­self has gone way up­scale, with wood-fired ovens, or­ganic top­pings and ar­ti­san cheeses, cal­zone usu­ally shows up in not-very­trendy pizza and fast­food joints.

A new book, “Pa­tio Pizze­ria” by Karen Adler and Ju­dith Fer­tig, gives the cal­zone its due. With home­made dough and a stuff­ing of three cheeses, ar­ti­choke hearts and sausage, this cal­zone is fit for fine com­pany. The Pulled Pork ver­sion is a bit on the nov­elty side for my taste, but the fun part with both recipes is that you cook them on the grill. Note that the dough rec­om­mended for this recipe, while ex­tremely easy, needs to be thrown to­gether at least 24 hours in ad­vance of serv­ing.

Melissa Clark, a cook­book au­thor and writer for The New York Times, wrote that cal­zone has “many of the perks of pizza.” It’s easy to make, it’s a good ve­hi­cle for us­ing up odds and ends from the re­frig­er­a­tor, and it’s a crowd pleaser. I would also add the perk that, like pizza, cal­zone can be eaten with the hands.

But cal­zone also “has some happy ben­e­fits of its own,” Clark wrote. One is that it is usu­ally burst­ing with cheese, a boon for cheese lovers. An­other is the el­e­ment of sur­prise. “Pizza gives it all up as soon as it lands on the ta­ble; serve a cal­zone to a group and let them an­tic­i­pate the mo­ment when they find out what’s in­side.”

So give it up for cal­zone. It might be pizza’s “poor re­la­tion,” but it’s rich in taste. GRILLED CAL­ZONES Yield: 4 cal­zones For the dough: 2-1/2 cups bread flour 1-1/4 tea­spoons salt 1/4-tea­spoon in­stant or bread ma­chine yeast

1-cup luke­warm wa­ter, plus more if needed 1-tea­spoon honey 1-ta­ble­spoon olive oil All-pur­pose flour for dust­ing For the fill­ing: 1 cup cooked and crum­bled fresh Ital­ian sausage 1/2-cup ri­cotta cheese ¼-cup grated Pecorino Ro­mano cheese

¼-cup grated fontina cheese

1/3-cup ar­ti­choke hearts (jarred or canned)

3 ta­ble­spoons chopped sun-dried toma­toes Zest of 1 lemon 2 ta­ble­spoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Make the dough: In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and yeast to­gether. Com­bine the wa­ter, honey and olive oil; stir into the flour mix­ture un­til the dough comes to­gether. If the dough is dry, add 1 ta­ble­spoon of wa­ter at a time un­til the dough is just moist. Cover the bowl with plas­tic wrap and let sit at room tem­per­a­ture un­til dou­bled in size, 24 to 48 hours. Use im­me­di­ately, or re­frig­er­ate for up to 3 days be­fore bak­ing. Let come to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore us­ing.

Pre­pare a medium-hot fire in your grill.

When ready to grill, di­vide the dough into 4 por­tions. Roll them into rounds about 6 inches in di­am­e­ter on a lightly floured sur­face.

Make the fill­ing: In a food pro­ces­sor or a bowl, com­bine the sausage, ri­cotta, Pecorino Ro­mano, fontina, ar­ti­choke hearts, sun-dried toma­toes, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse to com­bine. The mix­ture should be chunky. Spoon equal amounts of the mix­ture into the cen­ter of each cir­cle of dough, spread­ing to within 1 inch of the edge. Fold over each cir­cle of the dough to form a half-moon. Crimp the dough edges to seal in the stuff­ing. Place the cal­zones di­rectly on the grill grates or on a hot grid­dle; grill for about 3 min­utes per side, un­til nicely browned. Serve at once.

PULLED PORK CAL­ZONE Mix 1 1/2 cups shred­ded pulled pork and 1/3 cup spicy bar­be­cue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s) to­gether in a bowl. Di­vide among the four cir­cles of dough. Sprin­kle 2 ta­ble­spoons grated parme­san cheese over each cir­cle. Fold, crimp and grill as di­rected above.

( Reprinted with per­mis­sion from “Pa­tio Pizze­ria,” copy­right 2014 by Karen Adler and Ju­dith Fer­tig; Run­ning Press, a mem­ber of the Perseus Books Group.)

Photo: Steve Legato

Give this grilled cal­zone the re­spect it de­serves.

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