Fried eggs and wood oven pizza are two of my all-time favorite foods. So when I first tasted a pizza with an egg cooked right on top, I knew it was the start of a love affair. Two perfect (and simple foods) knit together so artfully in the way that makes you think “now why have I never done that?” For my egg pizza, I wanted flavors that would enhance, not compete with the flavor of the egg. I started with a base of garlic and added lightly sauteed chanterelles. The earthy sweet mushrooms and savory garlic infuse into the egg as it cooks giving you a savory white, and (if you cook it just right) a yolk that is still runny enough to ooze all over your plate.
Of course putting an egg on a pizza is not the difficult part of this whole scheme– the hard part is creating a respectable pizza in a home kitchen. Luckily, I have also given this problem some consideration.
2¼t. dried yeast (regular, not quick-rising)
2c. warm water
1T. barley malt (substitute honey if you can’t find barley malt)
4c. bread flour
2T. wheat germ
1T olive oil
½ oz. dried chanterelles
3-5 garlic cloves
2 c. grated Piave cheese (substitute Parmesan if you can’t find Piave)
1 c. baby arugula
high quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
enameled cast iron skillet or dutch oven with a 10” flat base
round cake pan, or other metal cookware that the skillet can be inverted onto
smoking chips (optional, I used cherry)
baker’s peel (or an inverted baking sheet will work, too)
6 individual pizzas
Pour yeast into the bottom of your mixer bowl. Pour warm water over the yeast. Stir in malt syrup to dissolve. Pour the flour and wheat germ over the water. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and turn to medium for a minute or two, just until the dough comes together. Turn the speed down to low and let mix for about 10 minutes. By now the dough should be cleaning the side of the bowl. Add the salt and mix for another minute or two until the salt is completely absorbed. Add the olive oil and mix until the oil is incorporated (it might take another minute or two of mixing.) Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled (about 2½ hours.) If you are using the smoking chips cover them in water and leave them to soak.
Pour hot water over dried mushrooms and leave them to rehydrate. Peel garlic and mince. Lightly saute garlic with a few tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant. Set the garlic and oil aside in a bowl. Slice the chanterelles thinly. Saute the chanterelles in a tablespoon of olive oil. Set chanterelles aside. Grate cheese.
Divide dough into six equal portions (about 170g. if you have a food scale). Tuck the ends of each piece of dough under so that each portion is a little round. Set rounds on a well floured surface and leave them to rest for at least 5 minutes.
Cut 10” rounds of parchment paper. If you are using a skillet, find a cakepan or something similar (not pyrex, though) to invert your skillet onto so that you’ll end up with a flat surface. Adjust your oven rack so that the surface of the skillet or dutch oven is about three inches away from the burner. Wrap soaked wood chips in tin foil, sealing the edges to make a neat packet. Poke a few holes in the top.
Press dough into a disc. Tuck your fingers under and transfer the dough on top of your hands. Carefully rock the dough back and forth between your two fists, stretching as you go. Place dough on a parchment round. Lightly flour your fingertips and press the edge of the dough outward until you have a uniform round. If the dough is still too thick at the edges, run your fingers underneath the edge and gently stretch out the edge. The finished dough should come within a half an inch of the edge of the parchment round.
Top & Bake Pizza
Place your skillet on the stove and turn the heat to high and set a timer for 10 minutes. Turn your broiler on to low. Brush pizza with garlic and olive oil. Scatter cheese and chanterelles over the surface of the pizza. If you are using smoking chips, toss the packet of chips in your preheating pan for the last 2 minutes of preheating. Cover.
Transfer your smoking chips to the oven rack. Invert your pan and (carefully) move it to the oven. Slide the pizza and parchment onto the surface of the skillet. Close the oven door and let cook for 2½ minutes. Crack an egg into a bowl. At 2½ minutes, pour the cracked egg into the center of the pizza. Cook for another 2½ minutes, or until the crust is blistered, crisp and golden. Scatter arugula leaves over the surface of the pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Eat immediately.
If you are cooking more than one pizza you’ll need to transfer your pot back to the stovetop and bring it up to high heat again before baking the next pizza. It will only take a minute or two to bring it backup to a suitable temperature.