After the first bite of the first slice I thought: I have to make this again next week, and then I have to tell the world. Preparing these ingredients, piling them on top of pillowy dough, photographing, and eating this weekend reminds me why I started this blog to begin with – food is best when shared! Of course, I get to share all my meals with Chase (and now Gabe!) but there's a different joy in sharing here. I hope to find the time and discipline to do it more frequently!
We are surviving on peaches and tomatoes these August days. Caprese salad, tomato toast, peach toast, peach jam, tomato jam, tomato and peach caprese salad... You know how Mexican food is essentially the same combination of ingredients, just wrapped in tortillas different ways? That's me with peaches and tomatoes right now. They're a lovely source of recipe inspiration with all their different varieties and bright colors, but moreover: this is a welcome season after last summer when I was 3 months pregnant and food was dead to me!
I'm happy to have landed here with this pizza, whose flavor is all things at once: savory, fresh, sweet, bold, herby. I crave it. I've got to make it every weekend until the peaches run out.
As for making pizza at home, through much trial and error, I've learned a few tricks for making it amazing without a pizza stone, and without one of those insanely sharp pizza cutters. First, take a page from the instructions on frozen pizza boxes: place the pizza directly on the rack. You obviously can't put soft pizza dough directly on the rack, but if you par bake your dough on a regular sheet pan, you can transfer it to the rack halfway through for crust that is crispy all the way in the center.
As for cutting your pizza in slices: use kitchen shears. Or clean craft scissors. Whatever you got! The days of smooshing pizza toppings with a dull pizza cutter are over. Ok, let's make some pizza!
1 ball of pizza dough*
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 cup pecorino romano, grated
1 ball fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
1 Italian link sausage, optional
1 ripe peach, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sungold or cheery tomatoes, sliced in half
Reduced balsamic vinegar
A few leaves of mint and basil chiffonade
*Smitten Kitchen's no-knead pizza dough is my go-to if I'm making it from scratch, but you can't beat the ease of Trader Joes fresh dough, which is what I used here.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a sheet pan with olive oil and sprinkle generously with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
Start by reducing 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan. Simmer until it's quite thick, and reduced by a little more than half. Set aside to cool.
If you'd like to add sausage, remove the sausage from its casing and brown it on the stove. Roll out your dough, and transfer to the pan. Smear dough with an even, thin layer of crème fraîche; add toppings in this order: pecorino, sausage, peach slices, tomatoes. Finish by nestling torn mozzarella pieces all around the toppings.
Bake on the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully with a spatula, transfer the pizza directly onto the oven rack. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until the crust is crispy in the center of the pizza, cheese is bubbly, and the topping are nicely browned.
Allow to cool for a couple minutes, then cut into slices using kitchen shears. Finish it off with mint and basil chiffonade, and a generous drizzle of reduced balsamic.