Monday, August 27, 2012

Rustic tomato pizza; a new challenge

I have a terrible habit of accumulating recipes – either torn out of magazines or links saved in an ever-growing Evernote list – and then letting them languish, unused. So, I have initiated a couple ways to help this problem, including a new challenge! For starters, I have been building a custom recipe book comprised mostly of all these magazine pages. I selected a very pretty binder (made from recycled paper) and have been slowly organized the recipes into categories – Appetizers, Breakfast, Chicken, Dessert, Drinks, Other Meats, Salads and Soups, Seafood, Veggies and Sides, and “Everything Else.” It’s kind of funny to see what recipes have caught my eye over the years (because there are at least four years of pages here to deal with). So many of them are similar or stick to a similar theme – desserts featuring fruit, tons of seafood recipes, and a lot of comfort food ones, too (I found at least four different ones for roast chicken). Anyway, that’s an ongoing project, but so far I am quite pleased with the results.

On to the challenge – I am going to *try* and make at least one of these recipes each week, and then post a blog about it – starting now! Yesterday I made a tomato pizza that was a riff on this recipe that I saw on The Chew last week: When I saw Michael Symon make this I thought it looked delicious and immediately bookmarked the recipe. Here’s the catch – I don’t currently own a tart pan. Mine tragically broke during the move and I have yet to replace it. At the same time, I thought a regular pie plate would be too deep and then the tart wouldn’t really turn out right. Inspiration struck! I decided to make a simple pizza dough. I used the thin crust recipe from the trusty red plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer, first with the paddle and then the dough hook, and the crust came together in a flash. Plus, bonus, the recipes actually makes two crusts, so I froze one for later.

I treated the tomatoes the same way Symon calls for, except I used rosemary from my garden instead of thyme. What was extra exciting is that I used two tomatoes from my tomato plant – the first two usable ones I have been able to harvest! And guess what? They were completely delicious. I supplemented them with a few gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the farmers’ market.

From there, I basically followed the recipe exactly, just substituting my pizza crust from the pie crust. I blind baked the crust for the called for time, topped it, and baked again until everything was hot and the cheese with getting nice and melty. The crust came out great – nice and crispy with a good texture. Pre-roasting the tomatoes, like the recipe calls for, ensures that they get caramelized, and therefore really helps brings out the sweetness in them. Finally, creamy ricotta helps bring everything together. There was a nice balance of flavors – sweet and salty, a little acidic, and savory from the rosemary – and textures – crispy and crunchy and creamy. The picture doesn’t do it justice (although aren’t the tomatoes drool-worthy?). A win!

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