It's still summertime and, in Redondo Beach, CA, we are having one of the best summers I can remember. We very typically have a marine layer of fog that covers our beaches for most of the day until it finally burns off after the relentless sun does it's job better than the Pacific is doing it's job of sending the fog our way. But not this summer. It has been sunny, sunny, sunny! And, on top of all that sun, we have been blessed with a consistently cool ocean breeze, which has made things warm but not hot. To further make this a great Southern California summer, our nights have been warm also. I have hardly had to do the "layer off" routine and then, in the evening, put a layer (sweatshirt) back on. Paradise!
So, big deal you may be saying. What's with all the talk of summer? Let's get to the pizza. We will. But I'm on a roll here. I've been having a ball making some fresh pizzas and enjoying sitting around outside and gobbling them up lately. On a few long Saturday afternoons I've been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and making some delicious pizza pies with the wonderful ingredients that are readily available at so many good grocery stores.
Now, with this pizza, I wanted to focus on the final touch - the drizzle -- which is a delicious balsamic vinegar that a friend gave to me from a shop up in the Central Coast of California Wine Country. The pizza I made was delicious in and of itself, don't get me wrong. I used some Bel Gioioso Burrata, fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, a little sausage, and chopped fresh basil leaves in a base of Peter's herb oil. But, the kicker was how
the balsamic woke this ensemble up and brought all their brightened flavors to the summer party that this pizza crust was having. It was a bash! Can I get away with calling it a Balsamic Bash?
Thinking back about this, another interesting idea would have been to use a little cold buratta at the end, with balsamic drizzled on it to top of the hot pizza. I'm wondering how I may play with that idea, using minimal cheese prior to baking and adding it on cold, after the pizza comes out of the oven, allowing it to melt a little into the pizza from the residual heat, but also remaining somewhat cool! I'm just throwing it out there because, lately, I've become really intrigued by the combination of warm and cool ingredients on my pizzas.
As always, enjoy this recipe if you choose to follow it. But, I'd rather know that it sparked an idea of your own for an even better pizza.
Pizza Balsamico - AKA "The Balsamic Bash Pizza"
Peter's Classic Pizza Dough
Peter's Herb Oil (for marinading and drizzling -- see the Instructional archives for this recipe as well as the dough recipe)
Marinated Sliced Tomatoes in Peter's Herb Oil
Bel Gioioso Burrata Cheese (or any favorite burrata)
Pre-cooked Pork Sausage (or, any kind of sausage you like)
Sliced Red Onions
Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
A good quality Balsamic Vinegar
--Preheat your oven to the highest setting for about 1 hour prior to baking (in order to make sure you get your pizza stone heated up to temperature).
--Shape your dough.
--Lay out your tomatoes on the dough (these will become a base, and act as your sauce. They will hold their shape and sort of steam under the cheese and toppings).
--Break up chunks of the burrata and lay them across pizza (burrate is a combination of fresh mozzarella and a creamy mascarpone-like filling, so you could actually make your own)
--Add bits of cooked sausage and top it all with the sliced red onions.
--Into the oven…
--Add chopped basil for garnish and another fresh aromatic flavor to top the cooked pizza . The basil will wilt into the hot cheese.
--Cut your pizza and eat - but, only after drizzling your balsamic vinegar onto the pizza, or your individual slices. (if the balsamic is very runny, you can cook it down to a syrup consistency in advance and let it cool).
--Add salt and pepper to taste, and hot pepper flakes if you are so inclined.
Let us know how much better your version is than mine.
As usual, here is a Gallery with some more photos. I hope you enjoy them.