Margherita Pizza & Caprese Salad
Tomatoes are important and if you've been following along with our Christmas counter-programming, you learned all about pizza sauce yesterday. Now we'll make a Margherita Pizza and we'll throw in the very simple recipe for a Caprese Salad just for fun. You'll need everything we've made so far: our home made dough and grandmother-proud tomato sauce.
First off, let's talk about two very important items you need in making a pizza. First is a pizza peel. There are lots of kinds of pizza peels in metal, wood, plastic, etc. You need a large flat one to bring your pizza to and from the pizza oven but for cooking, you need one of these long-handled ones with lots of perforations (see below). The other thing you need is lots of semolina flour or equivalent. This flour will save your hind-end every time from a raw pizza sticking to your pizza peel. Use it religiously and when you think you've used enough, you haven't. Use more.
See? Use that Semolina Flour liberally on the counter to begin pressing out your dough. **If you missed our dough making exercise, just jump back to the recipe page and you'll find it quickly. Use your fingers all around the edges until you begin to get a round, flat shaped dough.
Once you get it going, you can pick up the dough and begin to work with it above the counter - ie, in the air. Stretch the dough gently so as to not create any holes.
This big, flat, metal thing is that other kind of pizza peel I was mentioning. These come in lots of different shapes and sizes and lots of people swear by the wooden ones. I'm going to try one of those soon! In the meantime, this one came with our pizza oven and seems to work fine, as long as we use that semolina flour every time.
This is a pretty simple, straight-forward pizza. Spoon on the pizza sauce we made yesterday. Don't get too much! If you do, your pizza will be wet and soggy. Slice your fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese in thick slices and place on the pizza.
Transfer your pizza to the pizza oven and with one or maybe 2 or 3 good shoves of the pizza peel, your pizza SHOULD come off and now be on your pizza oven's stone. This motion took a little while for me to master so don't get discouraged. You will start to get it quickly.
Give the pizza 2-3 minutes to cook and then using that long-handled pizza peel, move the pizza around a bit to ensure that all sides are cooking evenly.
You'll know the pizza is finished when the mozzarella has melted a good bit and everything is bubbling up.
Garnish with basil and EAT!
Mozzarella or Burrata Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Optional: Balsamic Vinegar
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a platter. Slice the mozzarella and place on top of the tomatoes. Did I say that this is not a complicated dish?
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then generous portions of olive oil. Add a little torn or chopped basil and balsamic vinegor if you so choose!