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Daily Slice: Roasted Tomatoes at The Churchill, Los Angeles
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
A year ago, I had impressive cocktails and much less impressive pizzas at The Churchill, but had never made it back. A recent revamp brought Chef Bruce Kalman—formally of Urbano Pizza Bar—on board, elevating the food to match the cocktails.
The Roasted Tomato Pizza ($10) is a fast favorite. It begins with raw crushed Di Napoli San Marzano style plum tomatoes with roasted garlic, olive oil, and salt. Fresh mozzarella melts completely, leaving behind just faint hints of mozzarella water. The namesake roasted tomatoes appear sparse; each slice captures only one or two. But each bite is a packed with the bold flavor of tomatoes sweetly slow roasted in the wood fire oven. A collection of heirloom Munak Farms cherry and Tutti Fruit Farms tomatoes, plus Romas, are tossed lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of sugar before roasting; a process begun separately and then finished on the pizza.
For all the finesse of the dough—King Arthur high-gluten flour, rye flour and wheat germ; 24 hour sponge and a 24 hour proof—the crust remains unremarkable. Especially considering the chef's previous kitchen turned out these pies. But for a chef that can turn simple roasted tomatoes into a powerhouse topping, maybe the crust doesn't matter... as much.
About the author: After nearly a decade in Brooklyn, Kelly Bone landed back in Los Angeles where she writes The Vegetarian Foodie. She spends the rest of her time designing office cubicles... you might be sitting in one right now! Follow her on Twitter at @TheVegFoodie