Plus, he kept muttering something about a “secret weapon,” missing only the dull gray trenchcoat and the briefcase handcuffed to his wrist to complete the John le Carre, Cold War caricature. As a hedge against Joe’s plot to steal this year’s Smackdown, Tim suggested they try to rip the seven-layer dip out of the hands of the prepared-foods industry and re-engineer it for the modern eater.
That’s when Joe turned to his known accomplice, Deputy Food Editor Bonnie S. Benwick, who nixed the seven-layer-dip idea. Pizza was determined by executive fiat, the signs of conspiracy clear.
With no ally among his colleagues, Tim turned to another source for help: Peter Pastan, the proprietor of 2 Amys. Sure, Pastan, a Neapolitan true believer, was an unorthodox choice to assist with a Super Bowl recipe. How many couch jockeys were going to ferment pizza dough for 24 to 36 hours when a Papa John’s driver could deliver a pie to their doorstep within an hour? Still, Tim trusted that Pastan would have his own secret weapons. Like maybe one for developing flavor without the interminable fermentation.
This was Tim’s approach to a Super Bowl pizza: Why bother with a homemade version if a) it couldn’t top a delivery pie, b) it would take 20 times as long as delivery, and c) it would just include a pile of kimchi on top, which is Joe’s method of improving everything.
Pastan admirably refrained from laughing at Tim’s request to circumvent a lengthy fermentation, a query tantamount to a child asking to reach adulthood by skipping past a long and unpredictable adolescence. Pastan then remembered a pizza dough that the kitchen used to make at the Tabard Inn when he worked there in the mid-1980s: It incorporated a little buckwheat flour for flavor.
Once Pastan gave him some pointers on the best method for a bright, no-cook tomato sauce, Tim narrowed his toppings to a few muscular yet harmonious ingredients: hot Italian sausage, fresh and creamy mozzarella from Maplebrook Farm, thin slices of pungent red onion, sweet basil leaves and coarse sea salt. Tim knew that Joe would opt to force his pro-veg agenda on readers.
Balderdash, Joe thought. “Just because I’m not eating meat doesn’t mean I forgot how to cook with it,” he said. Would Tim pull out some Benton’s bacon as a last-ditch effort to make up for the fact that his crust, the most important part of a pizza, would surely taste no better than Domino’s (or perhaps Domino’s with a little buckwheat bitterness thrown in)? The best pizzas use a fermented dough for good reason: That’s how you get flavor.