Pizza experiments – fresh ingredients, fresh flavours – Fig and Goat Cheese – Orange Tomato and Broccoli Rabe

I must say that if there is one food I absolutely love, it is pizza. Actually, I take that back…what I really love is bread and cheese, and pizza is the perfect combination of the two.

I’ve been trying to be meticulous about avoiding non-organic dairy – this basically eliminates most pizza delivery options around my house. That’s not so bad though, because it gives me opportunities to experiment with different pizza flavours and remain in control of the ingredients used and the calories consumed. This summer, I’m determined to come up with fun combinations using whatever seasonal items I can find at the farmers market.

I made two pizzas this weekend. I found some fabulous figs at Whole Foods last week, and what could possibly be better than a fig and goat cheese pizza? To make this pizza, I used a premade pizza crust that my mom had made for me and left in the freezer. I started out by caramelizing some onions using Alton Brown’s method of very low heat, butter and salting the onions liberally. I used Whole Foods’ organic vegetarian goat cheese and spread a layer of this cheese onto the crust. Goat cheese is fairly low in calories relative to other hard cheeses, so I wasn’t too worried about using the whole package. I minced up about 6 rosemary leaves and 10 fresh oregano leaves and spread them over the goat cheese – I’m guessing if you bought herb goat cheese, you could skip this step. The next layer was the caramelized onions, followed by sliced figs. In the oven for 11 minutes at 400F finished off the pizza.

The second pizza was much more representative of my trip to the farmers market Sunday morning. I had some leftover mascarpone cheese from an earlier crepe adventure, so I used that as the base layer on the crust. I then thinly sliced an orange tomato and layered it on top of the cheese. The next layer was sliced mushrooms I had sauteed with 2 cloves of garlic (I always cook mushrooms first before putting them on pizza – otherwise, they give off their water during the baking process which makes for a soggy pizza). On top of the mushrooms, I added about 1/4 cup of crumbled feta.  I then topped off the pizza with broccoli rabe and a handful of shredded sage cheddar from Spring Hill.

I’m looking forward to trying out new ideas – please share if you have favourite ideas of your own!

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