Yesterday, I ignored my phone, email, and all forms of social media for several hours. It felt good and liberating. I also ignored this blog for about a month. You already know that, I suppose. But I wondered if you might be beginning to worry? If so, please accept my apologies. I assure you they are heartfelt. I can’t really begin to explain all the reasons for the break. It just sort of happened. Summer is so seductive with its sunshine and buzzing public spaces. I found myself out and about a lot with the wee one. There were barbecues and little parties. There were play dates and more play dates. Trips to the park. Trips to the San Juans. More play dates. And some reinvention. I’ll explain more about that last bit later this month.
For now, we are home and cooking lots again. I made you this pizza to make up for the time lost. I think it’s worth it. It is the perfect summer pizza. It’s bright, fresh, and tangy with cilantro, zucchini, lime, and fresh cilantro. I love this crust more than any other home pizza crust. I really want you to try it, but I’m concerned you might fret when you glance at the recipe. It looks time-consuming, I know. It’s not really that much of a time commitment. There is a bit of shuffling you’ll have to do with the pizzas in the oven. Oof! Take a moment and breathe deeply. It isn’t as bad as it looks. Use a timer. Be nearby. It will be worth every moment spent when you bite down on the most perfect home-baked pizza crust you’ve ever had.
This pizza is truly something to behold and we find ourselves eating it often. A good deal of the reason for this is related to a small redheaded child who routinely spins about this house with boundless energy. This child, the one with the adventurous palate about which I used to brag so often, is on a strike of sorts. Her whims and desires change with the wind. Thank goodness for pizza. Pizza is always a favorite. And, thank goodness for long summer nights, highchairs on the patio, and lovely readers who indulge my short or long sanity blogging breaks.
Happy August, dear friends.
Corn Zucchini Pizza with Lime & Cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe for yeasted pizza dough (see below)
Coarse yellow cornmeal for dusting
¾ cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear of corn)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 and ½ cups)
½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 limes, quartered
Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Set aside.
To shape the pizzas, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 pieces. Gently form each piece into a loose round and cover with a floured kitchen towel. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Pour a small amount of the remaining olive oil over the inverted baking sheets. Scatter cornmeal over the top of the oil. Shape each round into a 10 inch disk and place it on the sheet.
In a small bowl, toss the corn kernels with the black pepper. Line up the 3 pizzas for assembly. Scatter half of the Mozzarella over the pizzas, leaving a ½ inch rim. Place the onion over the cheese and spread the zucchini over the onion. Scatter the remaining mozzarella over the onion and zucchini. Sprinkle with feta and corn.
Place a baking sheet with a pizza on the lower rack and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pizza to the upper rack, place the second pizza in the oven on the lower rack, and continue baking for 8 minutes. Then, finish baking the first pizza by sliding it off the pan directly onto the lower oven rack. Rotate the second pizza to the upper rack. Bake the pizza on the lower rack for 5 minutes to crisp the bottom until well browned. Finish baking the second and third pizzas in the same manner. Immediately after removing each pizza from the oven, brush the garlic oil onto the rim. Garnish with cilantro. Sprinkle lime juice over the top.
Yeasted Pizza Dough (Makes three 10 inch pizzas)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 and 1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 and 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.
If using stand mixer, add all the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix for 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Add 1 and 1/2 cups more flour, and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoonful as needed to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be a little sticky, but not too wet.
If making by hand, add the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix for at least 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups flour onto a work surface, place the dough on top of it, and knead it for about 8 minutes to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be sticky but not too wet. If the dough sticks to the work surface, rub a little olive oil on it. if the dough is impossibly sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoon as needed.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a large well oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Or, put the dough in the fridge and let rise overnight. The next day let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with recipe.
Adapted from The Cheese Board Cookbook