Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Margarita Pizzas

One of the fastest ways to create a fantastic pizza is to start with a pre-baked crust that is either fresh or frozen. Many busy people feel they don’t have time to make their own pizza. Using a pre-made crust simplifies the process so that a good homemade pizza can be put together in just a few minutes. Having a pre-made crust also makes the process more fool proof, because you have a solid foundation to build on that is less likely to get mushy from wet ingredients like fresh tomatoes.

Since this is the time of year in the Midwestern United States that we finally have an abundance of tomatoes, I decided to try making two Margarita pizzas in the T-Farm Test Kitchen on pre-made crusts.  The goal was to see how they would each turn out, and also to demonstrate how you can use most any good tomato and get a good result.  One pizza was made with juicy heirloom slicing tomatoes and the other one contained heirloom Italian paste tomatoes. 

The slicing tomatoes, purchased from a local grower, are an Heirloom which appears to be Copia, but I am not positive that is the variety.  In any event, the photo below shows just how gorgeous they are.  At first glance you might mistake them for small apples!

On the second pizza I used our own T-Farm grown “Principe Borghese,” which is an Italian Heirloom paste tomato and is very popular in Italy for sauces and drying, but you can use any paste tomato to obtain a similar consistency.  This variety grows on a compact plant and has a deep rich flavor, also making it perfect for pizza.   Here is what they look like:
The pizzas were both constructed very quickly and simply in the same way.  Only a few ingredients are needed, but of course you can add whatever toppings you like. 

Here are the steps.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place a fresh layer of basil on the surface of the crust.  This is done for a couple of reasons.  It helps to keep the crust crunchy as it can hold some of the juices from the fresh tomatoes before they boil off, and secondly, the tomato juice keeps the leaves from drying out and losing their flavor.

3. Layer tomato slices on top of the basil.

4. Fresh milk mozzarella cheese, which sometimes comes in a log shape, should be cut into ¼” slices and then cut in half slices; layer them over the tomatoes.

5. Finally, a clove of freshly chopped garlic should be sprinkled on top of the cheese.  This will allow the garlic to brown while baking and fuse its flavor into the cheese.

6. Bake the pizza directly on a stone until brown, from 15-25 minutes depending on the crust and type of tomato used.  You can use a knife or peel to check the underside to ensure the crust is done.  If you don't already have one, we check out the baking stones we sell in our Amazon General Store here.


The pizza with the juicy tomatoes turned out pretty well, but as you can see in the photo below, it had more moisture than it needed to.  If we had pressed the tomatoes on a drying rack to remove some of the liquid, that would have helped reduce the liquid on the final pizza.

The pizza made with the paste tomatoes was perfect.  As the closeup photo shows, although there was still moisture, most of it was gone when the pizza was done baking.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it, though the other pizza was also eaten, but perhaps not as quickly! 

No comments:

Post a Comment