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Tot-Topped Pizza

tot-topped-pizza-dan-whalen.jpg
Tot topped pizza
Matthew Benson

This recipe was provided by Workman Publishing and can be found Dan Whalen's new cookbook in "Tots! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie."

I have a lot of pizza parties. So many that I once built a brick oven in my backyard! As the pizza parties wind down, people get a little drunker, and I start to run out of ingredients, and the pizzas get more and more crazy. That’s how the tot pizza was born. The reason this works, like many of the pizza combos I love, is that it has balance. The heavy, salty tots are balanced by the tart and spicy banana peppers. The condiment mixture is a natural pair for the tots and brings everything together with a last-minute drizzle.

Tot-Topped Pizza:
Makes one 16-inch pizza; serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour, for working the dough
  • 1 pound store-bought refrigerated pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 frozen tots
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • Cornmeal, for working the dough
  • 1 cup banana peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on top. Sprinkle more flour on top and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to come to room temperature before using, about 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the oregano, the pecorino cheese, and salt and pepper and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  4. Using a stick blender, blend the sauce until smooth. Cover the pan and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature, with an oven rack set just below the broiler. Place a pizza stone, baking steel (my preference), or overturned sheet pan on the rack to preheat.
  6. Meanwhile, place the tots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle them with the vegetable oil. Toss the tots gently to coat them evenly with the oil, then spread them out in an even layer. Warm them in the oven while it preheats, about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture into a squeeze bottle (or a zip-top bag) and set aside.
  8. Sprinkle a small handful of cornmeal onto a pizza peel (or place a sheet of parchment paper on a cutting board) and put the dough round on top.
  9. Remove the tots from the oven. Top the pizza dough with the sauce to taste (I usually use a heaping ½ cup of sauce), leaving the edge bare. (Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.) Sprinkle the banana peppers over the sauce, top with the Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, then scatter the tots evenly on top.
  10. Switch the oven on high to broil. Carefully slide the pizza onto the pizza stone (if using parchment on a cutting board, you can slide the dough-topped parchment directly onto the stone) and broil, keeping an eye on it to prevent burning, until it is bubbling in the center and the tots and crust are browned, about 5 minutes.
  11. Pull the pizza out of the oven and slide it onto a large cutting board.
  12. Squeeze the mayonnaise mixture onto the pizza in decorative lines (if using a zip-top bag, snip a small hole in one corner to make a piping bag). Cut the pizza into slices and serve!

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