Today I had an accident. It came about because I was feeling sorry for myself. I have no money. I have no oven. And I wanted pizza so badly.
Korea has their own version of the hot-n-ready $5 poisonous plastic pizza that is available in the States. I have indulged… on more than one occasion. Pizza School is too close to my apartment. But yesterday I went to the open-air traditional market and spent my grocery budget. I remember grocery shopping with my mom, getting home and unloading everything, then deciding to go out to eat instead. What a rich feeling! When I am rich again, I will relish the ability to eat at a restaurant while my refrigerator is also full. But that’s not a luxury people in their 20’s need to have.
The luxuries of the 20’s include insane kitchen experiments because what you crave isn’t tooooo far out of reach, if you are hungry enough.
A few days ago I saw a video tutorial for skillet pizza. It may or may not have been Buzzfeed. But I wasn’t sure a gas stove would have a low enough temperature when dealing with actual bread dough. Plus I don’t keep yeast on hand. So I decided to use those market purchases.
I sliced up a potato so thin, you could see different colors through it. Then, I sliced the slices to get the toothpickiest French fries I’ve ever seen. I sprinkled on some flour and salt, and then mixed in an egg. This is Poor Potato Pizza dough.
I went through my fridge and threw pizza-like toppings onto my counter: yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, ground beef, onions, and garlic. I sliced everything and ended up putting the onions in with the potato crust. The rest I fried. I threw some dried oregano and parsley into the mix, hoping to make it taste more Italian.
When the meat was cooked, I transferred the toppings to a plate, added oil to the frying pan, and made my potatoes into a circle using a spatula. While they were cooking, I trimmed my basil plant and cut up the last of my cheese.
Three years ago when I first arrived in Korea, I couldn’t find more than one kind of real cheese in the grocery store. Now, there are three! Alas, still expensive, but prices are dropping as cheese is becoming more popular. I mean, a country who’s staples are rice and spicy red pepper flakes? I thought cheese was a no brainer all along.
I flipped the potatoes and quickly laid out my cheese, basil, and toppings on top- making sure to be artistic so I could take a picture later. I placed the lid on the frying pan to help the cheese melt before the bottom burned.
I left it in the pan past my comfort zone, but it turned out to be perfectly crispy on one side, melty and cheesy on the other. I sliced it into quarters, picked it up and ate it in 5 minutes flat. It was a lot messier than bread crust pizza. Also I probably ate it faster than I could have consumed the same amount of bread. Next time, I’ll use chopsticks and the deliciousness will last longer.
Being poor and oven-less isn’t always so bad.
DOUGH: 1 medium potato, 1/2 small onion, ~1 T flour, sprinkle of salt, 1 egg
TOPPINGS: Ground beef, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, mozzarella cheese