Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farmers Market Pizza

Sometimes a pizza is more than just a pizza.

Now, I'm a bit finicky when it comes to pizza (and many other things, as you may have caught on to). I love bread and sauce. I am not such a fan of cheese. I prefer shredded cheese in limited quantities, preferably browned (which changes the texture to something I'm happy with).

When I make pizza for dinner, I typically play to my own taste: heavy on the sauce, skimpy cheese, and generally a nice vegetable topping (which almost always ends up being broccoli, peppers and onions). I do not think outside the box. I definitely do not venture into the realm of the sauceless.

So perhaps it was surprising that this recipe caught my eye. There is no sauce on this pizza and there is a ton of cheese. But I chose to overlook those issues in favor of the ton of fresh vegetables that are involved. I'm very glad I did. If there were a sauce, it would overwhelm the wonderful delicate veggie flavors. The corn is a brilliant addition, adding a delightful sweetness. The fresh mozzarella, rather than distracting me with its goopiness, sort of blended into the crust - all the flavor without the texture I dislike. And the Parmesan added a nice salty note.

This pizza will overwhelm you with its freshness. The beautiful in-season ingredients are really allowed to shine here. The only thing that could have improved it would have been freshly made pizza dough. I did try - you might notice my dough in the picture of my ingredients, hiding in the measuring cup - but the recipe I used made far too little dough, so I had to send Jeff out for store-bought dough at the last minute (I have yet to find a go-to pizza dough recipe - if you've got a good one, let me know!) But the dough isn't my biggest regret - it is rather that we didn't think to enjoy this outside, as part of a lazy summer's evening, on perhaps the coolest day we're going to have for some time. Definitely next time.

Farmers Market Pizza
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2011.

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 c onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 c bell pepper, thinly sliced (this would be great with red bell pepper, but green is what's currently in season at the farmers market)
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c fresh corn kernels (I only needed one medium-sized ear)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pizza dough (the recipe called for 16 oz - to be honest, I didn't even look at the size of mine - if it's too big or small, just adjust your toppings)
cooking spray
5 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 425° F. Position an oven rack in the next to lowest setting (I just used my small top oven). Place a pizza stone on the rack to preheat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and thyme and cook 3 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add corn, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more, until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat.

Roll out your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Remove the pizza stone from the oven. Coat the pan with cooking spray, and place the dough on the pan (I forgot the cooking spray, but this was the first time I ever put a pizza on a hot stone, so as I moved it around and fussed with it, the little bit of cooking it did prevented it from sticking to the stone later on). Spread the mozzarella slices over the crust. Spread the corn mixture over that, and finally sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake for 23 minutes (why so precise? I have no idea).

Remove the pizza from the oven. Arrange the tomato halves evenly over the top.

Return to the oven for 5 more minutes. If the tomatoes aren't browned a bit, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or two (this made my crust a little extra brown, but that was fine by me). Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, and enjoy! (Just try to give it a few minutes to cool so you don't burn your mouth!)


  1. It seems you really don't like cheese, but I made a kale pizza the other day that you might like anyway. First, I used a crust from smitten kitchen, which has always worked wonderfully for me (I double the recipe and make it whole wheat: While the crust was rising I let olive oil and minced garlic sit in a bowl together, and then once I rolled the crust out I brushed the top of the crust with a good amount of the mixture. Then I sprinkled chopped curly kale on top (pieces on the smaller end of bite-sized), enough to cover the top of the pizza generously, and put a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes on top of that. Then I put sliced mozzarella on the kale, and a TON more sundried tomatoes on top of the mozzarella. The fat in the oil and the cheese help the kale wilt just enough, and the sundried tomatoes add a punch of sweetness. I overcooked mine so the cheese wasn't gloopy - it wasn't on purpose, but it worked anyway and tasted delicious. I'll make it again - and probably put it on the blog when I do.

  2. Yeah, my problem with cheese is mostly a texture issue - which is the same problem I have with tomatoes (I eat them in almost any form but raw), so your sun-dried tomatoes would be awesome. That kale pizza sounds great. I'll need to try it next time I get some (and increase my kale repertoire to two recipes ;)).