I was working in New York City this summer and went on some great little pizza quests. When I got home, I found that a group of volunteer cherry tomato plants were about ready to burst in my back yard. I decided that things had gotten out of control, as the plants were crawling across my patio and it was time to clean things up. First, I had to pluck all of this juicy fruit from the vines -- it was quite a gift! The seeds for these these plants must have drifted over from the neighbors and didn't get much help from me but, apparently, where they landed, in a little planter cut out of my patio, was a near perfect environment for them. I can't wait to replant, or watch these volunteers show up again.
But what to do with all of these tomatoes? Well, I would certainly make a salad. What else could I possibly do? Ah, pizza time!
When I decide to make pizza, I generally think of what I want to do and then often go wander around the grocery store to see if anything inspires me. Just looking at these tomatoes, I realized that my inspiration for making pizza this day was right here in my backyard. As you can see from the photos, my guest tomato plants gave up quite a bit of gorgeous fruit.
I decided that my first pizza of the day would be totally about the tomatoes. In fact, it was going to be a tomato pizza -- with no meat products! This was going to be a simple celebration of what the garden offered to me.
Garden Tomato Pizza
- Peter's Classic Neo-Neopolitan Dough *Link
- Peter's Herbed Oil *Link
- Cherry tomatoes -- cut in half
- Ball of Burrata, or Fresh Mozzarella
- Green Onions - Grilled
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Balsamic Vinegar
Make the Herb Oil ahead of time - link to recipe above
Drizzle a little of the Herb Oil onto your green onions and throw them on the grill. Once they are softened and a little charred pull them off. Let them cool a little and chop them up and set aside.
Preheat your oven to the highest temperature, about 550 degrees if possible, for at least an hour prior to cooking to make sure to get your pizza stone up to temperature.
Stretch out your dough and drizzle a little of the Herb Oil over the top.
Place the cherry tomatoes around the dough - mostly cut side down. I feel like they steam and hold more of their moisture this way. Some will roll over when you slide it in the oven, and as you can see, I also threw a few on that sit cut side up as well. This is not science!
Tear up pieces of the cheese and place them around the pizza. Try to imagine how the cheese will melt and blend together with the other ingredients to gauge how much and where you want to place the pieces.
Time for some heat, so, into the oven….
My oven was as hot as it could get. You can see the charred tomatoes. This pizza looked good going in but, hey, it looks good right out of the oven too.
Add the shredded Parmesan, to taste.
Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.
This pizza looks good enough to eat cold. It was a great way to celebrate the gift of my fresh tomatoes, this inadvertent gift from my neighbors. The sweet bursts of flavor from the tomatoes, along with the more earthy onions and amazingly creamy burrata cheese really hit the spot. This pizza was balanced, fresh, and delicious! And, then, as a topper, you also get that sweet twang from the balsamic vinegar, which perfectly ties all the flavors together -- Delish!!