I have come out of my gardening strike in the last week and I'm well on my way to getting my garden back in order. I find it hard to believe I have neglected it for the past year like I have... weeding has consumed the last few days. I have planted tomatoes, peppers and re-vamped the herbs, but my most pleasant discovery was finding figs on my tree. I have a beautiful little fig tree in the backyard, which apparently did not mind the neglect. The tree has done just fine without me- bursting with figs. The challenge now is to harvest before the birds do, since they seem to like them as much or more than I do! The figs I used for the pizza are black mission, but any type or combination of fresh figs will work well. Figs are highly perishable and are best eaten soon after picking. Using them in a grilled pizza works well because they don't get much overhead heat and remain plump and juicy.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I just recently bought a new kitchen toy, one that took numerous trips to the kitchen store and quite an agonizing search for the perfect grill. Only after returning the black model to then buy the same exact grill in blue (yes, color makes all the difference) did I finally make the purchase. Accordingly, I have decided that in order to truly reap the benefits of this painstaking journey, I will enjoy all things grilled for at least the next month or so. First on the agenda, a delectable grilled pizza!
Grilled pizza has always been a favorite of mine. More recently, I stumbled upon a similar recipe in an issue of the Donna Hay magazine and it inspired me to craft my own. FYI - if you don't want to go through the trouble of making pizza dough, a pre-made pizza disk, frozen pizza dough (whole foods carries it), or pita bread are good substitutes.
I used a combination of goat cheese and freshwater mozzarella to start. There is a great cheese maker at my local Farmer's market whose goat cheese with dill caught my eye this latest time around and so far it's my favorite. Mache' would be a great substitute for the arugula (rocket) if unavailable. You can either caramelize your own onions as I did in balsamic vinegar, or use an onion jam.
The dough can be made ahead of time and left in the refrigerator until it's time for the second proofing. The pizza can then be assembled as the coals heat up in the grill.
Grilled Pizza with fresh figs, freshwater mozzarella, goat cheese, Balsamic onions and Arugula.
1 pint fresh figs, stemmed and halved
1/2 pound freshwater mozzarella
1/2 cup goat cheese with herbs
1 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
about 2 cups arugula
2 packets active dried yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Place the yeast, honey and water in the bowl on an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 3 cups flour and salt and mix. While mixing slowly add remaining flour (1 cup) until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead dough with mixer additional 10 minutes. Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface turning it 1/4 turns each time. When finished the dough should be smooth and elastic. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in volume.
Divide dough into 6 portions, roll each with a rolling piece or pat out by hand into 6-8" rounds. Place on counter or baking sheet, cover with towel, and allow to rest for an additional 10 minutes. (at this point you can refrigerate dough until ready to use- a few hours).
Pre-heat grill to medium heat. Brush with olive oil and chargrill for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Layer cheese, onions and figs on pizza place back on grill until cheese is just beginning to melt. Remove from grill, add rocket leaves, drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
To caramelize onions: In a medium saucepan over med-high heat saute onion slices in olive oil until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and de-glaze pan. Set aside to cool until ready to use.