Customize your pie for perfection.
Pizzas have, in my opinion, moved from the sublime to the ridiculous. A simple “tomato pie” topped with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni is now hard to find, and pizzas topped like cheeseburgers or peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches have made their way to “pizzeria” menu boards. Don’t get me wrong, I like fancy pizzas as much as the next guy, but…
So how about a fancy pizza that’s easy to prepare and one that will excite your family and friends when they come to your dinner table?
Pesto Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Seafood
First, make some pizza dough in your food processor. Let it rise twice. Next, crush basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil with your mortar and pestle. Then, dry some San Marzano tomatoes in your food dehydrator and soak them in extra virgin olive oil for a day or so. Finally, when it’s time to cook, form the dough into a 12- to 16-inch round.
Just kidding. Here’s my simple method with easy ingredients:
Buy a pre-made pizza crust (I like the two-for-$2.99 crusts at Trader Joe’s) or some pizza dough at the Publix bakery. In either case, buy several—I keep pre-made crusts in the freezer for last-minute meals.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Form the dough, if necessary, and put it on a lightly oiled pan. Top with a layer of store-bought pesto, followed by chunks of mozzarella cheese and some well-drained store-bought sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil). Sprinkle with some sea salt, a few crushed red pepper flakes and some dry oregano. Cook until cheese melts and the crust starts to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
At this point, the choice of seafood is yours. I like 40 to 50 count shrimp, peeled and deveined. You might consider bay scallops, sliced sea scallops, clams, squid rings or even thin slices of pre-grilled octopus.The final cooking time is up to you and depends on how long it takes to cook your seafood. Ten minutes should be sufficient, and you may want to finish the cooking under the broiler, to add color.
Give the pizza a few minutes to cool after it comes out of the oven and then top with some shaved Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley. Then, hide the empty jars and packages—and take credit for all the “work” you’ve done. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine September 2016