One of my favorite pizzas to make, each time I make pizza, is always different. What I mean is that it is never the same pizza. It isn't necessarily the best pizza of any particular batch of pizzas, but it is definitely one of my favorites to make. Okay, let me explain all this crypticness: When I make pizza, what I do is plan on making a couple of specific pizzas and then let at least one happen with all the left over ingredients, or whatever else I may have in the fridge -- an improv pizza. That's usually my favorite pizza to make. It's a bit of a mix between art and performance art. You make something up and see if it works. I love this because something almost always emerges from my oven that I didn't expect.
In this case, what emerged during a recent pizza session were two things: sliced marinated tomatoes and the idea of combining warm and cool ingredients. I have been loving that concept a lot lately. I wasn't necessarily thinking of it while shopping, but when I had my ingredients all there, it just jumped out at me.
So, here's my pizza. I'm calling it my Summer Caprese Pizza. It starts with some fresh ingredients, gets baked, and ends with some more fresh ingredients that are cool, summery and drizzled with tons of flavor.
Summer Caprese Pizza:
Peter's Classic Dough (see Instructionals section)
Thinly sliced red onions
Thinly sliced organic leeks (or scallions)
Sliced tomatoes, marinated in Peter's Herb Oil (see below)
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
Grated Grano Padano or Parmesan
Marinate the Sliced Tomatoes in a 1/2 batch of Peter's Herb Oil for the Sliced Tomatoes:
1 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon dried rosemary needles
1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes (Optional)
1/2 Teaspoon paprika (Optional)
*See original recipe in our Instructional Section called Multipurpose Herb Oil.
Build pizza by placing tomatoes on the dough.
Drizzle additional oil on dough over the tomatoes - there is no sauce.
Add chunks of buffalo mozzarella
Add sliced red onions and leeks
Place the pizza into a pre-heated (550 Degree) oven on your pizza stone. Bake.
Summer Heirloom Caprese Salad *See recipe pictorial in the Instructional section.
I had planned on making this salad, and did so while I was making the pizzas. What I didn't plan
on was having this salad become a topping on my pizza. But, it did. And, it was good!
Prepare the cold salad - I mean topping:
--Slice an Heirloom Tomato into wedges
--Place ball of Buffalo Mozzarella over the tomato and break it open
--Tear fresh basil leaves into strips, or cut them and lay over the top
--Drizzle Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar over salad
--Sprinkle a little sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to finish
*Great as a side salad, appetizer, or in this case a pizza topping!
Finishing the pizza:
Remove the baked pizza from the oven when it's done.
Notice the charred onion tips and even the edges of the tomato. But, the thicker slices of tomato still hold up and are really moist.
Grate some Grano Padano Cheese over the top
Cut and dig in. No, wait!
Add the final topping:
Here's where my cold and hot obsession has been leading. I then add some of the Caprese salad to top off this pizza. The addition of the cool cheese with basil and balsamic vinegar make this not only a great pizza to create, but a great pizza to eat! This is, IMHO, the perfect summer pizza! Its fresh and simple ingredients scream for the back yard patio and a nice cold beer, or cool glass of wine.
When I made this the first time it really came together as a live-performance-work-of-art. I honestly didn't plan this and it's something that just came together in the moment, a flash. And, most importantly, it exemplifies another aspect that I love about pizza. Pizza is just fun!