Food writer Nik Sharma: Margherita Naan Pizza
Food writer Nik Sharma, curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares 100 delicious and intriguing Indian recipes with an American twist in his debut book, which Nigella Lawson has praised as “inspiring and infused with an enlivening and generous sensibility”.
Margherita Naan Pizza
I like to pair dishes, like a Margherita pizza, with bold, unconventional flavours, like coriander and nigella seeds. Using cracked coriander seeds, rather than ground, enhances the flavour of the chili flakes. Nigella seeds pair well with tomatoes. A little sprinkle over this fresh tomato-topped pizza gives the tomatoes a fragrant, nutty flavour. You can also use olive oil instead of ghee if you prefer.
Dough of one naan recipe (see below right)
2 tsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the pizza
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp nigella seeds
2 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 tsp cornmeal or semolina
50g ghee (see recipe, below), melted
185g cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
160g grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
80g shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Place a baking steel or pizza stone on a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 260°C for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into balls. Cover one ball with a kitchen towel. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the remaining ball into a circle 4mm thick and 30cm in diameter. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Crack the coriander lightly with a mortar and pestle, add the nigella seeds and chili flakes, and set aside.
Prepare one pizza at a time: Flip over a baking sheet, wrong-side up, and place a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 tsp of the flour and 1 tsp of the cornmeal on the parchment to coat evenly. Place a rolled-out circle of dough on top of the paper and drizzle with a little melted ghee.
Spread out half of the tomatoes over the dough. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and 1 tbsp of the spices in the mortar. Slide the circle of dough onto the preheated baking steel, discard the parchment paper, and shut the oven door. Lower the heat to 220°C and bake until the edges of the crust start to turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with half the chopped chives and flaky salt, and drizzle with a little extra ghee. Repeat with the remaining circle of dough and serve the pizzas hot.
* Extracted from Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, published by Chronicle Books, £26.
Photography by Nik Sharma