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Cooking

Pizza recipes and tricks from Jim Lahey in his new cookbook

Jim Lahey expounds on pizza
Tasting Table: Dough Boy

Jim Lahey isn't much for cookbooks.

The famed baker has more of a free-form approach.

It's ironic, considering the baking blitzkrieg launched by his "no-knead" bread recipe, which The New York Times published in 2006. (Tasting Table was the first to publish his "no-knead" pizza dough recipe in 2009; three years later, it is still the most popular recipe in our archive.)

Clearly, there's something to the man's recipes, whether he cares to follow them or not. With that in mind, the pizzaiolos in us are buzzing about Lahey's new book, My Pizza ($27.50), which comes out today (click here to buy).

Hinging on the no-knead dough recipe, the book is broken into sections: red sauce, white sauce and no sauce. My Pizza includes many favorites from his New York pizza spot, Co.

We invited Lahey into our Test Kitchen and, as we made his bird's-nest pizza (click here to see the recipe), we saw him put many of his book's mantras into practice. For example, room-temperature eggs and a hot oven are crucial. And though he riffed a bit--more salt and pepper, more asparagus--his improvisation was inspiring.

Take the book as a starting point and then, like Jim, go wild.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    The setup for Jim Lahey's Bird's-Nest Pie.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Jim cuts and weighs the pizza dough.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Tuck each ball of dough in on itself.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Flour a surface and let the dough rest.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Jim shows senior food editor Raquel Pelzel how to shape the dough.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Airborne!

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Cut your asparagus into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler (see our tip for an easy method).

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Layer the pie in Parmesan cheese, then dot with chunks of the Saint Nectaire.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Pile on the asparagus ribbons liberally; season with pepper and cook on the pizza stone until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is slightly charred.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    Jim uses a pairing knife to cut the tops off of the quail eggs. Once the eggs are placed on the pie, he seasons it with salt.

  • My Pizza: Bird's Nest Pie

    The pizza returns to the oven for about a minute. Then it's time to eat.

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