Sunday, August 14, 2011

July's Pizza del Mese: Plum Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza

July's Pizza del Mese takes advantage of everything ripe in your garden in July, even though it was made in August. Also, have you ever received a super fancy bottle of olive oil and thought, "What the heck am I supposed to do with that?" This pizza is the answer to that question. First, it's got an olive oil pizza dough that is delicious. Second, it actually calls for drizzling olive oil over the top just before serving. So good!

The recipe calls for plum or Roma tomatoes, but the preface to the recipe says that's just for winter grocery shopping. This time of year, they recommend whatever tomato looks best on your vines. Between the fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and oregano leaves, or parsley leaves, or marjoram leaves, or stemmed thyme leaves, you could really harvest your crops before they all go to seed.
Plum Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
  • Vegetable oil to apply to the cooking surface of Lodge Pro Logic Cast-Iron 14-Inch Pizza Pan
  • One recipe Olive Oil Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
  • 8 oz. (1/2 pound) fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 8 to 12 large basil leaves
  • 3 medium plum or Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t minced oregano leaves, or parsley leaves, or marjoram leaves, or
    stemmed thyme leaves
  • 1/2 t salt, preferably coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the surface of the cast iron pizza pan. Lay the dough at its center and dimple the dough with your fingertips. Then pull and press the dough until it forms a 14-inch circle on the pizza pan.
  • Lay the sliced mozzarella evenly over the dough or crust, leaving a 1/2-inch
    border around its edge; then tuck in the basil leaves among the slices.
  • Place the tomatoes on top, then sprinkle the minced garlic, herbs, salt, and
    pepper evenly over the tomatoes and cheese.
  • Place the pie on its pizza pan in the oven on the middle rack. Check it about every three minutes for the first nine minutes to pop any air bubbles that may blow up at its edge or across its surface. Bake until the crust's edge is golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.
  • Transfer the pizza pan to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes. Remove the pie from the pan, transferring it directly to the wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the pizza, then cut into wedges to serve.
Olive Oil Pizza Dough adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough Ingredients
  • 1/2 C lukewarm water (between 105 F and 115 F)
  • 1 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 C bread flour
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with warm tap water, drain it, and dry it thoroughly. Stir the water, yeast, sugar, and salt together in the bowl just until everything is dissolved. Set aside so the yeast can begin to bubble and foam, about 5 minutes. If it doesn't, throw the mixture out and start again. The water may not have been the right temperature or the yeast expired.
  • Add the flour and olive oil, attach the dough hook, and beat at medium speed until combined. Continue kneading at medium speed, adding more bread flour in 1 T increments if the dough gets sticky, until the mixture is soft and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  • Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
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