As promised, here’s one of the many recipes inspired by the bounty of produce we’ve been getting lately. (I love Greenling!) A simple pizza made with just tiny, perfect, ripe cherry tomatoes, a few herbs and some fresh mozzarella on a homemade crust.
The tomatoes came in our Greenling box and it’s time for a confession: I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes. Especially cold ones. Thus, the normal pop-’em-in-your-mouth-and-eat-’em way of ingesting these little red orbs clearly wasn’t going to work for me. Nor could I stomach them in a salad, on a sandwich, or sliced with some salt and pepper. They just simply had to be cooked. But how? When I think of wee tomatoes like that, I always think of fresh mozzarella. Fittingly, the idea of a simple pizza was born!
Making pizza is one of my family’s favorite things to do when we’re together and hungry. My dad is a great cook and baker and he always whips up a delicious dough seemingly out of thin air. I have fond memories of being a kid (and an adult!) and standing around the kitchen island in my father’s house with pans of dough and tubs, bags and packages of every pizza topping imaginable. We would each decorate our own section of the pizza, sometimes collaborating, sometimes making little fences made of olives so that so-and-so’s grilled onions wouldn’t accidentally migrate onto someone else’s slice. This would, of course, render that slice completely inedible to the offended family member. Onion contamination is not to be trifled with. ;)
The recipe for pizza dough I always use is my father’s. I’m not sure where he got it or if he made it up from years of baking with us kids. The one thing I do know is that it is written down in my cookbook and I go back to it time and time again whenever the urge for pizza strikes. Sometimes I vary it with different flours, herbs and spices and sometime I stick right to the recipe. Here it is, in my father’s words. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- A little salt
- A tablespoon or so of oil
- A tablespoon of sugar
- Bread flour
Combine water, salt, sugar and oil and about half a cup of flour. Mix it well with a whisk. Add yeast and mix it well again with a whisk. Let it rest a minute or two and the yeast will have time to hydrate. Add enough flour to make a dough you can handle. Turn onto a floured surface. Add flour & knead til dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover with wax paper & let rise. When it has risen, punch down, turn onto floured surface & roll out to fit pizza peel or pan. If using peel, cover it with flour/corn meal to prevent sicking. Pan should be greased. Let dough rest & rise a few minutes, then add toppings & bake in hot oven.
As you can see, this recipe assumes that you already have some idea of what you’re doing! For my deliciously simple pizza with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, I first brushed the whole thing with olive oil, then topped it with halved cherry tomatoes and slices of fresh mozzarella. I sprinkled it with some herbs, probably basil, maybe thyme or oregano, but I can’t honestly remember now. As is my rule when cooking, add what feels right! Once baked, the cheese had melted all around the tomatoes and each bite was a little reminder of summer.