Monday, September 02, 2013

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Basil Pizza

I tend to like my pizza — my home-made pizza at least — topped with strong flavors. Kale, blue cheese and walnuts. Garlic scapes and potato. Asparagus, goat cheese and anchovies. But a hot, late summer night calls for a different kind of pizza. A more delicate pizza. A summer pizza. A corn, tomato and basil pizza.

I know that corn on pizza doesn't sound very Italian. And I know that I used a hippie whole wheat dough, that my crust is entirely devoid of char, and my mozzarella started to brown. It was just that kind of night. But even so — this pizza was delicious.

The sweet corn only gets sweeter in a hot oven, and the punchy bursts of tomato (I went with some never-disappointing Sungolds a friend was kind enough to share form her garden) and fresh basil come together in a way that just feels perfect. It's sweet and juicy (from both the corn and the tomatoes), but it's also savory and aromatic. And even though it's pizza, it's surprisingly light. It's summer.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Basil Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough, ~10 oz
semolina or regular flour for dusting
1/4-1/3 lb mozarella, shredded
kernels shaved off 1 ear of corn
2 dozen small cherry tomatoes (preferably Sungold), sliced in half
olive oil
coarse salt
1 handful basil leaves, torn if large

Preheat your oven, with a pizza stone if you have, to 500 degrees for an hour. If your pizza dough has been refrigerated, let it come to room temperature for an hour.

Place the pizza dough on a lightly-floured counter top, and press outward into a thick disk (leaving a 1" unpressed area along the edge as the crust). Pick up the disk and let it drape over the backs of your hands, letting gravity help you stretch it into a 12-14" circle. If the dough resists, let it relax for a few minutes, then try again. Place the stretched dough on a peel (or overturned cookie sheet or cutting board) that's lightly dusted with semolina or other type of flour.

Scatter the mozzarella on top of the dough, then the corn and tomatoes. Drizzle the whole pizza with a small amount of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt. Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone in your oven, and bake ~7-10 minutes, until the crust browns and the cheese melts.

Remove the pizza from the oven, and let cool for a moment (if you're making one pizza, you can leave it on the stone, otherwise I like to transfer to a rack, or just slide a knife or such between the peel/cutting board and the pie, to let the steam vent so it doesn't soften itself). Transfer to a cutting board if you haven't already, and scatter on the basil. Slice and serve.


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