Monday, October 12, 2009

Perfection...with a twist.

Everyone knows that pizza is bread, cheese and tomatoes. The most simple and classic, the Margherita, is a marvel in its melted simplicity.

But what if you didn't melt it? What if you didn't cook it at all. (Okay, the crust gets cooked. But that's all.)

The components of cool, creamy fresh mozzarella with steaky slices of bright red tomato are their own tradition. A little basil, a drizzle of oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and you have Caprese salad.

Building a Caprese on a pizza crust is perfection, in more ways than one. The bread is a great vessel for the salad, allowing for perfect bites of all the components at one time. And from a visual standpoint, it can't be beat. A layered or concentric presentation is tailor-made for Caprese, and the pizza crust plays to it magnificently.


1 pizza crust
Olive oil
2 large ripe tomatoes (one red and one yellow is a nice touch)
2 large mozzarella cheeses
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil, sliced in ribbons

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place crust on baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil. Bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside.
Slice tomatoes into even slices. Slice mozzarella cheese into slices the same width. Alternating tomatoes and cheese, layer in a pinwheel pattern over crust. Drizzle with more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Finish with fresh basil. Allow to stand, letting flavors blend, for at least 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Extra Extra!

Holy oils – Franciscan monks brought more to the New World than churches and schools. According to The Olive Oil Source, the Catholic monastic order is responsible for the olive crops in California. Most of the oldest orchards in the Golden State are in the North, where development has not made it too expensive to devote land to raising the trees.

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