Broiled Cherry Tomato Margherita Pizza
Last night, Mr. Man and I were discussing dinner options – and to be honest, coming up a little bit blank. Pasta? No, we had that the other day. Quinoa? Nah… not in the mood… and so on and so forth. Finally Mr. Man is like How about Pizza? He even offered to go pick it up, as I was getting the beginnings of a righteous headache – but given all the fresh veggies I still have from this weeks FFTY box, it seemed like a bad idea to get take out. It did however, give me the idea to pull out the jar of No-Knead starter I always keep in my fridge and make pizza.
Amazingly, my starter managed to survive the two weeks we were in Boston, with no serious effects, (Sadly, I can’t say the same for the basil that had been living on my windowsill). I refreshed it last week, and it rose up quite nicely – although it’s really been too hot to bake very much. I didn’t have any Marinara sauce made, but trust me – you won’t miss it. The cherry tomatoes were perfect all on their own.
I’ve found myself making a lot of dishes like this lately – just a handful of fresh, quality ingredients, thrown together and prepared simply – it’s better than you’d think, especially right now when so many things are at their peak freshness. Good Food doesn’t have to be terribly fussy or complicated.
The last time I made pizza I learned quite a few lessons, so this time around it was much easier and faster to make. From start to finish dinner was done in under an hour – and that was including taking the prep photos! For starters, I prebaked the crust a little bit, which made for a more substantial and less doughy crust than last time. It also meant that the parchment paper was exposed directly to the broiler in shorter bursts, so it didn’t catch on fire this time, always a plus. (I’m a big fan of not-being-on-fire.) The crust did turn out a little more like a cross between a flatbread and a pizza, but I don’t really care, because what I call it is ‘pretty durn tasty’.
This time, I also skipped the whole making-a-sauce step, opting instead to go with a brushing of olive oil over the lightly baked crust, and then putting the cherry tomatoes cut-side down to cook. The result exceeded my expectations. I was shooting for an Margherita style pizza, and I daresay I nailed it. Of course, I did make a few modifications. I didn’t have fresh mozzarella, so I used the regular run of the mill mozzarella I already had. (The good stuff gets used up quickly!) I also opted to shred it, because I like having an even amount of cheese rather than large chunks. Technically, Margherita pizzas are vegetarian, but I threw a couple slices of chopped up prosciutto on there just for fun. For you veggie eaters out there, you can skip it and I think it will be just as (well, okay almost as) good.
Mr. Man and I adored it, and Miss Thing thought it was ‘okay’. I think she was mostly just a little weirded out that it didn’t have a traditional sauce on it. Served with a light salad, it was delicious and right up my alley in the simple-fast-easy-delicious category. Now that I’ve realized how quick and easy I can throw together a pizza as long as I have my No-Knead starter in the fridge, I may never want to buy pizza again. (Okay, not never, but probably even more rarely) Not only was this almost as fast as ordering out (+/- 15 minutes), it was much better than most of the places that will deliver around here. It’s a win-win.
A couple of quick notes – I’m pretty sure that Parchment Paper is not recommended for broiler use, and if you use it, you assume all risk and liability and yadda yadda. In other words, I did it and it turned out great, but if you do it and you set your house on fire, it’s not my fault. So be careful. It cooks fairly quickly, so I would caution against leaving the room in any case. Personally, I sat in front of the oven with the light on and watched it like a hawk the entire time. YMMV. If you choose not to use parchment, you can go the whole corn-meal and pizza peel routine, thats up to you.
Also, this method of pizza baking requires a cast iron skillet or flat griddle, or a pizza stone. If you don’t have one, you can probably still make a nice baked pizza-like-substance, but for the best chew and texture of the crust you should really use cast iron or stone. I used this Cast-Iron Griddle, and I’m pretty happy with it. I like that I don’t have to worry about it shattering as much as I would a stone at broiling temperature – although I use stoneware for most of my bread baking, so it’s a toss up.
- 1 lb of No-Knead Dough, rested atleast 24 hrs (or other prepared and rested pizza dough)
- 2 cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes
- 4 cloves Garlic; minced
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil; finely chopped
- 1-2 tbs Olive Oil
- 3-4 slices of Prosciutto; chopped
- 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Kosher Salt
- Before beginning prep of other ingredients, prepare the pizza dough.
- Spread flour out on the counter and knead in just enough flour that dough holds it’s shape (amount of flour will vary depending on how slack your starting dough is)
- Shape in to a round disc, and dust with additional flour
- Cover with a towel and leave to rest while preparing the other ingredients, or about 20-30 minutes
- Set the top rack of your oven next to the broiler, and place your baking surface (Cast Iron or Baking Stone) on the rack
- Preheat Broiler for atleast 20-30 minutes
- Prep Ingredients (if neccessary)
- On a sheet of Parchment Paper (please see note above!) roll the dough out to the shape best suited for your baking surface (round for skillet, rectangle for stone/skillet, etc…)
- Place parchment paper and dough on preheated griddle, baking stone, skillet (etc) and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. Please watch carefully!
- Remove browned crust and parchment paper from oven.
- Flip crust over and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. Please watch carefully!
- Remove browned crust and parchment paper from oven
- Brush crust lightly with Olive Oil
- Place Cherry tomatoes, cut-side down on the oiled crust
- Sprinkle garlic and basil evenly over the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt (or to taste), then spread the prosciutto and mozzarella over the tomatoes.
- Return to broiler and broil pizza for 2-4 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown and melt Again, please watch carefully!
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting