I can’t tell you how many times this soda bread pizza base has come to the rescue when I needed to whip up a dish of something filling and delicious in no time at all. It can be as simple as a topping of grated aged cheddar cheese or halved, well-seasoned cherry tomatoes.
Serves 6 to 8
- Scant 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2–1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1/2–1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 3/4 ounces chorizo, sliced
- 12 ounces Tomato Fondue (recipe follows) or chopped fresh or canned tomatoes mixed with seasoning/spices
- 8 bocconcini, halved
- Scant 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Lots of snipped flat-leaf parsley
Fully preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk and, using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl. Mix to a softish, not too wet and sticky consistency, adding more buttermilk if necessary. When it all comes together, turn out the dough onto a floured board, knead lightly for a few seconds, tidy it up, and flip it over.
Brush a roasting pan, approx. 12 x 9 x 2 inches, with olive oil. Roll out the dough lightly to fit the pan and sprinkle with rosemary. Scatter the sliced chorizo evenly over the surface. Spread a layer of tomato fondue over the chorizo and arrange some halved bocconcini on top. Sprinkle over the Parmesan.
Transfer the pan to the fully preheated oven on a low rack and bake for an initial 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 400 degrees F and bake for a further 20–25 minutes or until the dough is cooked and it’s golden and bubbling on top.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with a good green salad.
Spicy Tomato Fondue
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 3/4 ounces onions, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1–2 chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes in summer, peeled, or 2 (14-ounce) cans of chopped tomatoes in winter
- Sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and sugar, to taste
Heat the oil in a large stainless-steel sauté pan or casserole over gentle heat. Add the sliced onions, chopped chilies, ground cumin, and garlic, and stir well to coat everything in the oil. Cover the pan with a lid and sweat over gentle heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft, but not colored. It’s vital that the onions are completely soft before you add the tomatoes.
Slice the peeled fresh tomatoes and add to the pan with their juices (if you are using canned tomatoes, you can tip them straight in). Season with salt, pepper, and sugar; canned tomatoes need lots of sugar because of their high acidity. Cover and cook for a further 10–20 minutes until the tomato softens, uncovering for the last 5 minutes or so to reduce the sauce a little. Fresh tomatoes need a shorter cooking time than canned ones to preserve their lively fresh flavor. Depending on how you plan to use your fondue, you might want to reduce it a bit further.
Other Tasty Toppings
‘Nduja and Bocconcini: Follow the main recipe, omitting the rosemary and replacing the chorizo with 4 1/2 ounces ‘nduja. Sprinkle with fresh marjoram to serve.
Pesto and Parmesan: Follow the main recipe, omitting the rosemary and chorizo and replacing the tomato fondue with 3 tablespoons of loose basil or wild garlic pesto. Top with 1–1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella or 1–1 1/4 cups soft goat cheese and scant 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
Tapenade and Soft Goat Cheese: Follow the main recipe, omitting the rosemary and chorizo and replacing the tomato fondue with 3 tablespoons of olive tapenade, and the mozzarella with 1–1 1/4 cups of soft goat cheese.
Cheddar Cheese and Scallion: Follow the main recipe, omitting the chorizo and replacing the rosemary with 4 tablespoons of sliced scallions and the Parmesan with 1 cup of grated aged cheddar cheese.
Recipes reprinted with permission from “One Pot Feeds All” by Darina Allen. Published by Kyle Books.