In the last few days I have picked about 10 tomatoes from the various tomato plants growing in my garden. Every few days I pick another handful. In a few days I’ll be ready to pick more.
In an effort to use up as many tomatoes as possible (four), I decided to turn the classic tomato and mozzarella salad into a pizza. This recipe used all the basil I had growing in my garden (which wasn’t very much). Unfortunately, I’ll need to think of something else to do with remaining six tomatoes tomorrow. Salsa, anyone?
I’m a little bit new to eating balsamic vinaigrette. Have you ever heard someone in her mid-thirties say something so ridiculous?
Growing up I wasn’t a huge salad eater, and when I did eat salad, I ate it sans dressing. (I hated anything with mayo in it as a kid.) I only started eating salad dressing on my salads when I was in my early twenties, and only then I did I eat creamy, fatty dressings like ranch and blue cheese.
I never thought I would like vinaigrettes because I always thought there would be something missing. Like fat. And flavor. What I found when I actually tried a salad with vinaigrette on it (and liked it) was that if you have good ingredients in the salad, you don’t need a fatty/creamy dressing to add oomph.
That being said, I still migrate toward fatty/creamy dressings when eating salad. (Old habits die hard; what can I say?) So I don’t eat anything with balsamic vinaigrette that often. The balsamic reduction on this pizza caught me off guard at first. It gave the pizza a slightly sweet taste, which I didn’t immediately care for. But then after
a few more bites three pieces, I found that the ingredients and tastes really did meld together. Besides, there’s almost nothing you can’t fix with a little salt.
- 1 lb pizza dough
- ⅓ c. balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 2 T. olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 or 5 tomatoes, thinly sliced (depending on the size, you can get away with as little as 2 or 3 if you don’t have that many on hand)
- ⅓ to ½ lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- ⅓ to ½ lb fontina cheese, shredded
- ¼ c. fresh basil chiffonade (this is a technique of cutting basil where you stack basil leaves, roll them and then slice the roll to form strips)
- Let the dough come to room temperature. This takes at least 20 minutes, if not longer.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Optional step: While the oven is preheating, put the balsamic vinaigrette in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until thick (syrup consistency).
- Roll/toss the dough to an even, thin layer onto your pizza or baking sheet. Evenly spread the oil across the crust. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese evenly across the crust, and then do a layer of tomatoes, and the basil. Then drizzle the balsamic reduction on top.
- Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble, longer if you want your cheese to brown and your crust to get crispy. If you like a really crispy crust, you can pre-bake the crust for about 5 minutes before topping it.