Balsamic heirloom tomato pizza
The season for heirlooms has grown longer with the rising popularity of these delicious tomatoes. That means more pizza making opportunity. In the spirit of improvisation, I have come up with this really nice variation on my summer heirloom pizza recipe. The tomatoes are uncooked which allows for all that succulent heirloom flavor to burst forth with every bite.
- Pizza dough, chose from rye pizza dough or crispy dough.
- 2 to 3 lbs large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- a handful of basil, loosely chopped
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded (use the kind that is packed in water)
- a few pours of a good olive oil
- A few good pours of balsamic vinegar
- a handful of baking flour
- a few handfuls of cornmeal
- small bowls (for garlic, basil…)
- trenched cutting board
- garlic press
- pizza peal
- pizza stone
- pizza cutter (not necessary but very cool)
- Place pizza stone into the oven and preheat to 495 F.
- Remove the stems and slice the tomatoes between ⅛” & ¼” thick. Use a trenched cutting board as the juices will flow out of these of these behemoths. Set aside.
- With a rolling pin, roll a fist sized ball of pizza dough on a floured surface as thinly as possible. A dough should roll out to make a 10” to 12” base. If you are lucky it will be nice and round. If it’s not, square pizza tastes just a good.
- Place a healthy handful of cornmeal on the pizza peal and transfer rolled dough to the peal. (The cornmeal will allow the dough to easily slide off the board when you are ready to transfer the dressed pizza to the oven.)
- Drizzle dough with olive oil. Loosely cover with the dough with shredded cheese. Sprinkle minced garlic on top.
- Open the oven and at a 35 degree angle place the tip of the peal over the far side of the stone. Then with small flick of the wrist pull the peal back towards you. With a little luck and practice the pie will slide off the peal and land on the hot stone with ease.
- Bake at 495 F until the dough is crisp. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes, but times can vary so check often.
- When ready slide the peal under the pizza and remove from the oven. (If the dough is crisp it will slide out without problem. If the bottom of the pie is wet and sticky then it is not ready to come out.)
- Immediately dress pizza with sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle chopped basil over the top of the pie.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice, eat and repeat.
What you should know
If you are feeling lazy you can always purchase some pre-made dough from your local pizza joint. I’ve done this on more than one occasion. The clerks are always confused and the managers think I am nuts, but they always sell me some dough – if only to get rid of me before I scare the customers. The going rate seems to be about $2 to $3. Let us know how it goes for you.
If you’re oven gets hotter than 500°F, then by all means make it hotter. In excess of 600°F is the ideal temperature for baking pizza.