You sit up. You’re sweating. Your heart’s pounding. You’re salivating. Were you dreaming about Ryan Gosling shirtless? Were you running from a herd of zombies? Nope, you were dreaming about the best pizza you ever ate!
Man, I should get my food related lusts analyzed – constant dreams of my favorite pizza in the world, Planks in Columbus, can’t be healthy. I had the
misfortune fortune of living a few houses down from this pizza wonder during undergrad, and no matter where I go, I’ve been looking for a pie that rivals this guy. Sweet sauce, tons of cornmeal, thin crust – perfection.
Coming across this recipe last summer and knew I had to tackle it because it fulfilled these two requirements, and then some.
Driving by countless roadside produce stands recently, practically calling my name, I knew the time had come.
This is a bit of a labor of love, but the good news is, it’s totally worth it. The taste is fresh, clean, and like a summery garden delight.
Besides the eating, the gathering of fresh veggies was the best part of this little edible adventure. I used two different kinds of heirloom tomatoes – Old German and Mortgage Lifter – man, are they beautiful!
Having said all this, I have a confession to make, I’m a grill wimp. Burgers, steaks, brats, hot dogs, veggies, fruit – I’m a champ. Anything else, I get scared. I’m making this confession because, while this recipe is intended for a grilled pizza, I did it in the oven. The crusts were placed on cookie sheets, lined with aluminum foil, and the veggies were cooked on a veggie grill tray. I promise I’ll get up the nerve to make this on the grill, but after all the prep work, I didn’t want to run the risk of messing it up. Those grills are touchy!
The list of ingredients and prep work might seem daunting, just do a trial run in your head before attacking and it’ll be a snap.
If you want to cut your time, I’d recommend making the sauce a day or two before. It makes a good bit of sauce, enough that I canned 4 8-ounce jars, and gave them away.
The crust is amazing, I will definitely be using it in the future for other pie challenges. The recipe calls for corn flour, but for the life of me I could not track this ingredient down. I went with all-purpose, and it turned out beautifully.
I’m certain grilling would add a killer extra dimension of flavor… I promise to step up my game the next time I make it, and try to stop dreaming about food.
Heirloom Vegetable Pizza
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 head garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 small heirloom eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small heirloom zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup Heirloom Tomato Sauce, divided (recipe follows)
1 recipe Cornmeal Pizza Crust (recipe follows)
2 (8-ounce) packages fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick and divided
Fresh basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until lightly charred, approximately 25 minutes; remove from oven, and let cool completely.
Preheat grill to medium heat (300° to 350°). Spray grill rack with nonstick, nonflammable cooking spray. Brush eggplant and zucchini evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill over direct heat, with grill lid closed, until tender and browned, 6 to 8 minutes per side.
Spread 1/2 cup Heirloom Tomato Sauce over 1 grilled crust. Top with half of roasted tomatoes and garlic, half of grilled vegetables, and half of mozzarella.
Grill pizza, over indirect heat, with grill lid closed, until cheese is melted, about 7 to 10 minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients to make a second pizza.
Garnish with fresh basil, garlic powder and Italian seasoning, if desired.
Heirloom Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large shallots, diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
6 heirloom tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 6 minutes.
Stir in oregano, basil, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cornmeal Pizza Crust
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 °)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 cups corn flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup corn oil, divided
In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until mixture is bubbly, approximately 5 minutes.
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine corn flour, semolina flour, cornmeal, and salt; process until combined. Slowly add yeast mixture and 1/4 cup corn oil, processing until mixture forms a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes.
Spray a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium (300° to 350°). Spray grill rack with nonstick, nonflammable cooking spray.
Divide dough in half. Sprinkle a clean, flat work surface heavily with cornmeal. Place 1 portion of dough in center of cornmeal, and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, in a 12- to 15-inch round or rectangular shape. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush tops of crusts with 2 tablespoons corn oil. Sprinkle evenly with cornmeal.
Place on prepared grill rack, olive-oil side down, and grill over direct heat, with grill lid closed, until top of dough is bubbly and bottom of dough is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush tops of crusts with remaining 2 tablespoons corn oil. Flip dough, and grill, with grill lid closed, until bottoms of crusts are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Set crusts aside until ready to add toppings.
From Taste of the South Magazine