A Summer Pizza for Lunch in Paris

After arriving in Paris last week, I couldn’t wait to make a foray to the local food markets in our Left Bank neighborhood. I marveled at the produce displayed by the fruit and vegetable vendors. Baskets of strawberries were so ripe that they were red all the way through. Golden apricots were soft when touched and ready for eating. Asparagus—green and white, slender and plump—were also tempting. But the bin that caught my eye was filled with dark, luscious figs. When I squeezed them gently in my hand, they were so tender that I needed real will power not to take a bite.

I bought a bunch, and came home to make a pizza that featured figs as part of the Continue reading

A Delicious Pizza for Warming Spring Days

This week in the supermarket, I had a eureka moment while standing in front of a display of sleek, slim bundles of asparagus. Why not turn the tempting spears into a topping for pizza instead of using them as a side dish or tossing them with strands of cooked pasta– my usual methods of cooking this spring vegetable.

Within minutes, I had a plan. At the cheese counter I chose a piece of Taleggio, a soft creamy Italian cheese that melts beautifully. A package of those sweet little cippolini onions beckoned as well, especially since they were being sold peeled. To round out the toppings, I decided on brown (cremini) mushrooms. Continue reading

A Great Pizza—Inspired by Leftovers!

Wild Mushroom Butternut Squash Pizza 1 3648x2736Recently I read an article about zero-waste in commercial kitchens. The gist of the story was that many chefs have adopted a philosophy of using not just some, but all the food scraps and leftovers in their kitchen. One chef confessed that a dish he made with leftover broccoli stems was better than the original he had prepared with the crowns, and was now a staple on his menu. When I looked in my fridge later that day, and found a sizeable collection of partially used ingredients, I realized that a little zero-waste attitude could be applied at my house.

I spotted a half full container of mascarpone, a chunk of white cheddar, and some smoked kielbasa, as well as a package of mixed mushrooms and some butternut squash (remainders from some recipe testing). In a “eureka” moment I realized these could be the makings of a delectable winter pizza.

The only ingredient I purchased was an extra thin pizza crust. It was spread with mascarpone, sprinkled with grated cheddar, and topped with a mélange of sautéed mushrooms, onions, and kielbasa. Garnishes included roasted cubes of butternut squash and a final dusting of cheddar. Continue reading

Pizza Inspiration from My Farmers’ Market

Farmers' Market Vegetable Pizza 1 1824x1368 1824x1368Every Saturday morning in the summer and fall, you’ll find me at my local farmers’ market. Although our market is small, what it lacks in size it makes up for in variety and quality. On a recent visit to our block-long food bazaar, I spotted “ratte’ potatoes (a French fingerling beloved by French chefs). Nearby a cheese vendor displayed wedges of tomme Normande (made in the style of celebrated French “tomme” cheeses). At a yogurt stand, the dairy farmer offered creamy pots of yogurt scented with New England maple syrup. I also found okra in hues of purple and green, a rainbow assortment of heirloom tomatoes, and most surprisingly, boxes of mild Japanese shishito peppers (slim, green peppers from 3 to 4 inches in length.) I can never resist the lure of such interesting fare, and fill my basket with purchases to try at home. The recipe for the delicious vegetable pizza featured here was inspired by one of these shopping forays.

A thin-crusted pizza round (purchased at Whole Foods) was spread with sautéed onions, and topped with shavings of a robust tomme de Savoie. Next, lightly pan-fried baby zucchini or yellow squash (either works equally well) are alternated with sliced plum tomatoes in a spoke pattern atop the onions. They are sprinkled with more cheese and sliced shishito peppers. Seasonings of oregano, red pepper flakes, and a hint of balsamic round out the flavors. Continue reading