Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Pizza

Pizzas are a great way to use lots of vegetables, so we made two vegetable pizzas on Sunday night.  It had been awhile since we last made pizzas, since in the summer we prefer not to use our oven as much, although it hasn't been such a big concern since this summer has been so cool.  I made two pizzas with our farmer's market vegetables: a Japanese eggplant, yellow summer squash, caramelized onion pizza and an heirloom cherry tomato, burrata and basil pizza.
For the dough, I tried Jim Lahey's no-knead recipe with some modifications, based on my last experience.
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water (~115 degrees) with a packet of active dry yeast and let it bubble away for 5 minutes
  • Mix together 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour from Surfas, 1 1/2 cups of Caputo 00 flour from Surfas, 2 tsp of kosher salt (dry ingredients)
  • Using slow speed with the whisk attachment on the Kitchenaid stand mixer, slowly pour in the dry ingredients until combined into a wet sticky ball
  • Put the ball in a large glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap in a warm place (usually in my oven), overnight or longer
  • Punch down the dough ball, knead it about half dozen / dozen times, cut the ball in half and put it in two glass bowls for another few hours
  • Punch down the dough, sprinkle with lots of flour and it is ready to use
For the summer squash and eggplant pizza, I washed and sliced the summer squash (two small)  and eggplant (three small) first.  I sprinkled the eggplant with a little salt and let it sit for about half an hour to draw out the bitter juices.  I then roasted the eggplant and summer squash (seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper) at about 400 degrees (while I was preheating the oven for the pizzas)  for about 15 minutes.  On the stove, I caramelized 1 medium yellow onion over medium.  I was running out of time so I cheated a little and added a little sugar and maple syrup to speed up the caramelization.  In terms of other prep, I halved about a cup of
cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced about five cloves of garlic, chopped the basil, and grated about a cup of comte cheese (for the summer squash and eggplant pizza).

To assemble the pizzas, for the summer squash and eggplant, I stretched out the dough, brushed it with a little olive oil, sprinkled around half of the sliced garlic and some red chili flakes, sprinkled on all of the comte cheese, and placed all the just cooked eggplant, summer squash and caramelized onions around the pizza.  For the heirloom cherry tomato pizza, I stretched out the dough, brushed it with a little olive oil, sprinkled the other half of sliced garlic and all the halved cherry tomatoes around the pie.  I popped both into the oven at 525 degrees (one on the baking sheet and the other on the stone, as I previously mentioned), for about 15 minutes.  It took a little longer than usual, probably because there were two pizzas in the oven.  After they were done, I drizzled a little more olive oil on top, scooped some burrata cheese onto both pizzas and sprinkled some fresh basil on the tomato pizza.  Sprinkle salt, freshly ground black pepper and red chili flakes to taste.  Both pizzas are really good, fresh, summery and allow the fresh vegetables to shine.  I like the summer squash, eggplant and onion pizza a lot in particular as roasting and then baking the pizza really brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables.  I made a mistake with the heirloom tomato and burrata pizza by putting it back in the oven for a minute after putting the burrata on.  It made the burrata melt; it would have been better if it had been fresh.  I like the taste of the no-knead dough; it's a little lighter and less dense than my usual recipe, but a little more difficult to work with as it is stickier.

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