Quail Egg, Fennel and Pecorino Pizzetta Bianca

Preparation time: Cooking Time: Serves: Makes 8 small pizzas

Difficulty: 4/5

INGREDIENTS

Dough:
225g strong plain flour
1tsp sugar
2tsp salt
½ tsp fast action yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
100-150ml water

Fennel Sauce:
1 onions chopped
2 bulbs fennel chopped
2 garlic gloves chopped
6 tbs olive oil
200ml water
salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:
250g pecorino, shaved
1 red onion, thinly sliced
24 quail eggs
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella, torn
grated zest of 1 lemon
bunch of parsley roughly chopped
oil for drizzling


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METHOD

For the Dough:
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the oil and slowly combine the water, mixing with your hand until you have a soft dough – you may not need all the water. 
Turn the dough onto the work surface and knead well for 10mins until the dough begins to fell elastic and smooth.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl and rest for 30mins. Cover with oiled cling film and place in fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Take the dough out of the fridge at least 2hrs before you want to make the pizza, divide into 8 and shape into balls. 
Place on a floured baking sheet, cover with a cloth and leave to come to room temperature.

For the sauce:
Heat 2tbsp of the oil in a large sauté pan and sweat the onion over a low heat for about 6mins until starting to soften.
Add the fennel and garlic and the rest of oil and cook on a gentle heat for 15mins until very soft and starting to caramelize. 
Leave to cool before adding the water and blending to a fine puree with a hand-blender.

For the Pizza:
Preheat the grill on high.
Wipe a heavy based frying pan or skillet with a little oil and heat over a high heat until scorching.
With a rolling pin or your hands stretch each ball of dough into roughly 20cm rounds (they don’t need to be perfect!). Ideally the dough needs to be slightly thicker around the edges. 
Put the dough straight into the hot skillet and let cook for 2mins before adding the toppings. You should see the dough begin to bubble up around the edges. Then spread 2tbsp of fennel sauce over the base, scatter over a handful of the mozzarella, pecorino, red onion, a sprinkling of lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Cook for about 6mins until the base is crispy and charred and then transfer to under the grill for 3mins or until crust just starts to colour. 
At this point remove from the grill and drop 3 quail eggs onto the pizza. Grill for another 3mins or until eggs are just set. 
Scatter over a handful of parsley and some salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Note:  the best way to crack a quail egg is with a small sharp knife.  Gently tap the shell and then pierce membrane beneath. Drop the egg into a little ramekin before using – this way any unwanted broken yolks can be avoided!