Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mediterranean Pizza

Preston is my 11 year old and he's a really great eater.  This past summer we were in Carlsbad, CA for our beach trip and we went to Jay's restaurant on our last night.  It's a tiny little Italian/seafood place right on the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard.  All of the kids (my three plus Isaac and Anna)usually share giant plates of fettuccine alfredo, but Preston wanted to try something that he hadn't had before.  He asked me to show him a few things on the menu that I would order.  He chose the salmon with a white wine garlic sauce and ended up loving it.  He ate all of it except for the few bites that I snuck off his plate (It was the best salmon that I've ever had).

I love that he's adventurous and willing to have an open mind to new tastes and flavors.  There are only a few things that come to my mind that I know he will absolutely not eat (sautéed or caramelized onions and any sort of cooked mushroom).  He has a couple others that he avoids eating like hamburgers and take-out pizza.  I think if you were to ask a classroom full of elementary age kids, most would say that their favorite foods are hamburgers and pizza?  I understand the onions and mushroom thing because it's a texture thing, and hamburgers I get because of a stomach bug he had that coincided with eating a hamburger, but pizza?  The one interesting thing (and very good thing) about the pizza is that he doesn't like take-out pizza, but will happily eat homemade pizza any day of the week.

This recipe is sort of one you alter to your own taste.  You can make some of the toppings from scratch or just use your favorite store bought ingredients.

Mediterranean Pizza

1 recipe for flatbread pizza (recipe found here) or 2 8-ounce balls of your favorite pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pesto (I used this recipe because I had basil coming out of my ears)
1/4-1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, sliced (I used Tara O' Brady's soused tomatoes)
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted peppers, sliced (how to make your own found here)
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted

Place you pizza stone on the center rack of your oven.  One hour before you bake your pizza, preheat the oven to the highest temperature.  If you don't have a pizza stone, you can bake you pizza on an upside down baking sheet, but don't preheat the baking sheet.

Place a piece of parchment paper on an upside down baking sheet.  Lightly flour your work surface and roll out dough until paper thin.  Aim for a circle, rectangle of whatever shape you manage to roll it out to be.  Move the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush the dough with olive oil.  Sprinkle garlic, a good pinch of kosher salt, and black pepper over the olive oil.  Evenly spread 2-3 tablespoons of pesto on the dough (use more or less as needed).  Distribute the mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and feta on top.  Take care not to over load the pizza.

Take hold of one corner of the parchment paper and gently pull the parchment paper and pizza onto the pizza stone.  Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.  When down, remove from oven and sprinkle with toasted pinenuts.  Serve. 

Repeat with the remaining dough.

*Pitted and sliced kalamata olives could be used in place or in addition to the artichoke hearts (I'm not an olive fan so I went with the artichoke hearts)

Recipe slightly adapted from Use Real Butter

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