4.29.2011

Goat Cheese Pizzas


Thanks to a block of goat cheese and CookingLight.com, I was inspired to make a few variations on the theme of pizza this week. The first pie featured a fruit not usually associated with pizza toppings -- strawberries. Though the dish involves cheese and the ingredients are placed atop an open crust, it is not your typical pizza. You would hardly find strawberries, watercress, goat cheese and shaved Spanish mahon adorning a Papa John's deep dish. However, label aside, the ingredients harmonized magically and it was just as enjoyable to eat in wedge slices as its distant pepperoni & cheese cousin.

The second pizza I made is more aligned with traditional pizza toppings -- it stays true to classic margarita ingredients, but departs slightly with the addition of tangy goat cheese.
Both pizzas are light and summery meals that can be made in minutes (especially when using refrigerated pizza dough or whole wheat pitas for the crust, as I did) and can be easily tweaked according to palate preferences (but these combinations are pretty darn good).


PIE #1: STRAWBERRY-GOAT CHEESE PIZZA

Ingredients
:
1 whole wheat pita (or pre-made pizza crust)
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup trimmed watercress
2 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shaved fresh Spanish Mahon cheese

Directions:
1. Place pita in toaster oven and bake at 425° for 8 minutes, until browned. Remove from oven; arrange goat cheese evenly over crust.
3. Combine strawberries, watercress, sunflower seeds, olive oil, juice, salt, and black pepper; toss gently to coat. Arrange strawberry mixture evenly over goat cheese. Sprinkle pizza with Spanish mahon. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.



PIE #2: TOMATO-TWO CHEESE PIZZA WITH MUSHROOMS AND BASIL

Ingredients:

1 whole wheat pita (or refrigerated pizza crust dough)
Cooking spray
1 garlic clove, halved
1 plum tomato, largely diced
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled herbed goat cheese
sliced cremini mushrooms
Fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:
1. Place pita in toaster oven and bake at 425° for 5 minutes, until slightly browned.
2. Remove pita from oven and rub one side with garlic. Top with two cheeses, tomato and mushrooms. Return to oven and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until pita is crisp (but not burned!)
3. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.

Note: The original recipe calls for grilling refrigerated pizza dough for the crust: Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Pizza. Unfortunately my current apartment living situation limits my access to a grill, so I will have to wait to prepare it this way. But here are the directions for the over-fire method:
1. Prepare grill to medium heat.
2. Unroll dough onto a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray; pat dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray.
3. Place dough on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 1 minute or until lightly browned. Turn crust over. Rub with garlic; sprinkle with tomato and cheeses. Close grill lid; grill 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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