And then you have the Surreal and the Non Sequitur. Meet our first recipe, Strawberry Pistachio Goat Cheese Pizza. Rebecca found this recipe on a farmer's market website (originally posted in Cooking Light, of all places), and we had to try it.
Preparation time: 10 minutes (using a pre-made pizza crust)
Cooking time: 10 minutes (with a 30-60 minute oven warm-up)
Total cooking time: 20 minutes (plus the 30-60 minute preheat.)
First, the ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (or equivalent amount of raw pizza dough)
1/3 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup trimmed watercress
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
Nothing too difficult to find, except the watercress. We didn't have any. However, a quick google search showed us that spinach or arugula can be substituted. We've used mountain spinach (a beautiful, purple spinach) and swiss chard to great effect. That being said, on with the show.
Before prepping your pizza, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, stick it in; if you don't, a heavy cookie sheet will do. Preheat the stone or cookie sheet at *least* half an hour; preferrably an hour. This will help make the bottom of your crust very crisp.
The pizza crust. Nothing touches homemade. Still, not everyone has time to make their own pizza crust, so if you have to go with Boboli, go with Boboli. In the interest of simplicity, we'll save the homemade pizza crust recipe for another time.
If you're using pizza dough, press it out to twelve inches and poke it with a fork all over so that it doesn't turn into a giant football in the oven. Bake for eight minutes, until very light brown.
Leave the oven on. It isn't finished - yet. It's time to prepare your other ingredients.
Goat cheese. My very favorite. Crumble this up and set it aside. And measure out your quarter-cup of parmesan. Yeah, we didn't use Parmigiano-Reggiano. That stuff's pricy. We got a $2 bag parmesan. It'll do until we make it big. Slice your strawberries thinly.
Mountain spinach! See what you can pick up from the farmer's market? I've never seen purple spinach before, but figured it'd look beautiful with the strawberries.
Mix together oil and lemon juice, and add a dash of salt (and pepper, if you like. Rebecca does not like.) I also tossed in a teaspoon of sugar to accent the strawberries, and a teaspoon of minced oregano. You're making a vinaigrette here, so please - experiment with fresh or dried herbs. It will be good. Add the strawberries and spinach... And mix them up!
We turn our attention to the pistachios. You could chop them with the knife, which might get messy. Chopping nuts seems to make them fly everywhere. Or, you could...
Put them in a bag and smash them up! This is fun.
Okay, everything ready? Now, pop your prebaked crust back in until it's golden and very hot; about eight minutes. Mmmm! Then take it out and turn off the oven. No more cooking.
Sprinkle on the crumbled goat cheese.
That looks good. Now, add the strawberry-watercress/spinach/arugula mixture. Yeah, I know that we used purple mountain spinach above. Below is the swiss chard. We made this on two different nights, so the photos are from different pies.
Sprinkle on the parmesan... and the pistachios!
Slice and serve immediately.
Robert's Take: Pretty great. Rebecca described this as 'salad on a pizza crust', which is accurate, but better than I'd expect. Granted, I'm not going to wake up in the middle of the night craving this, but for a low-fat, non-greasy alternative to pepperoni, it's great. Especially in these early summer months when strawberries are cheap.
Rebecca's Take: I like pretty food, and this definitely falls into that category. I think the combination of textures threw me off a little bit the first time we tried it. I enjoyed it much more the second time, though I don't know if that's just because I knew what to expect or because of the small differences in ingredients used. It's definitely worth eating again in the future!