As we promised, we will be posting pizza recipes from all of our Pizza Cookoff Fridays. Actually, I should confess that that title is the more sanitized and hence publishable version of the actual title. Here’s another of our creations – this was week 2. This is a sauce less pizza (distinct from the saucy pizza with all her insolence and impertinent attitudes :-)) that we find works best early in the evening of pizza debauchery. Light and pleasing, it was a nice introduction and palate opener to the heavier pizzas that were to follow that night.
- 1 16 oz pizza dough
- 1 lb fresh ripe apricots
- 8 oz buffalo mozzarella
- 2 tbs fresh thyme (leaves only, no stems) (you can substitute with sage)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 4 oz prosciutto (thinly sliced)
- 2 cups arugula
- Zest of ½ a lemon
- About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a pizza stone into the oven and heat oven at 500F (450F if you are doing convection bake). As a warning, you should never put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven. Let’s just say that if you do, it’s the last time you’ll use that pizza stone. Think along the lines of, “Pop goes the weasel”. I had my own mistake in this department sometime ago when I was a pizza making newbie. Fun times!
- Wash the apricots. Depending on the size, slice each apricot in about 4 to 6 pieces, slicing from top to bottom. Place the apricots in a bowl and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, about 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper and 2 tsp olive oil. Toss well and put aside. Truly you don’t have to season the apricots but I love to add seasoning as I go as I find that it intensifies the flavors of the meal… and adds so much to the taste experience.
- Thinly slice the buffalo mozzarella. Don’t do this too soon before you need to use it as this cheese tends to leach a fair amount of liquid. I have no evidence of this but I am sure that as it does that it takes away some of the flavor with it. So just slice a few minutes or so before you need to apply the cheese.
- Wash and dry the arugula.
Assemble the pizza
- Stretch the dough to roughly 14 inches diameter. You don’t have to try and achieve a perfectly circular shape. Remember this is your own homemade creation and it tastes no worst for not having perfection in shape. Personally, I like the rustic look of a misshapen pizza. It’s a pizza with personality 😉
- Place the dough on a similarly sized piece of parchment paper or a pizza reel sprinkled liberally with cornmeal. This is critical. You need to have the dough on the surface that will be used to transfer it to the oven before you start adding toppings. If you haven’t prepared it for its oven relocation IN ADVANCE of topping it, that pizza is just not going anywhere…at least not as a pizza. Trust us – more than once, we’ve forgotten this and ended up with some weird calzone-gallette mutant. Not to say it wasn’t tasty but, alas it was no pizza. We love using a pizza reel since it makes it really easy to place the pizza on the hot stone without risking life and limb. If you’ve ever opened a 500 degree oven and later touched your eyebrows to confirm their survival, you will appreciate the distance provided by the pizza reel’s handle. Besides, it just makes you feel that much more like a pizza making maestro. Anders loves his. When it comes to cooking he espouses the philosophy that one must dress the part to be the part.
- Use a pastry brush to spread the olive oil over the raw dough. Spread the thin slices of prosciutto and then cover with the buffalo mozzarella. Place the apricots on top and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Use the pizza peel to transfer the pizza to the hot stone and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted (12- 15 minutes).
- While the pizza is being baked, dress the arugula with a bit of olive oil (just about 1 tsp), sea salt and lemon zest. When pizza is ready, removed from the oven and cool for a few minutes before adding the dressed arugula. Add a few turns of fresh cracked pepper and drizzle with some olive oil.
- Eat up while still warm.