Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Great Pizza Experiment

After this weekend, I wound up with a house full of heirloom tomatoes. I've been eating insalata caprese all week, but sometimes a girl needs a little variety. So yesterday, I had this brilliant idea -- heirloom tomato pizza margherita.

It was so simple.

  1. Start with a low-carb whole wheat pizza crust, and preheat the oven to 450°.

  2. Cover the pizza crust with garlic and a little bit of melted butter:

  3. Layer on thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes:

  4. Add sliced fresh mozzarella:

  5. Add some chopped fresh basil:

  6. And some parmigiano-reggiano and a dash of sea salt:

  7. And finally, add a couple ounces of a shredded Italian cheese blend, to ensure consistent melting:

  8. Cook for 10 minutes.

The result:

Looks beautiful, right?

Alas, it was virtually inedible. The low-carb pizza crust was not absorbent, and with all the fresh tomatoes, the result was a disgusting, watery mess.

So, other than using a better crust and perhaps cooking the tomatoes first to remove some of the liquid, what could I have done to improve the result?


gunn lino said...

You might try drying the toms ala sun dried or oven dried, or a dehydrator-sp?- ( as is used in fruits and such), a little less cheese ( again less moisture ),

Also a more typical crust, at least for the first couple of times.

You might also try a pizza stone (following the stone mfg directions for tempering and preheating)

Yeah, yeah, I know lots of show and no go, I'm a bit of a foodie myself, but I've yet to try your idea. Soon maybe.

e.b. said...

Its mostly the crust. I purchased a similar one a few weeks ago ran into the same problem and then a "regular crust" the next night and had none of the problems. I imagine the crusts in general are not very strong - but they could be okay with a lite topping, some oil a sprinkle of cheese type thing.

dara said...

gunn lino: If I only had a dehydrator . . . .

e.b.: The organic tomatoes and fresh cheese have a little bit more moisture, but yeah, the primary culprit was the lack of absorption by the crust. Bummer, though, because it looked so pretty. It was less drenched on reheating, though.

DSL said...

Maybe it would help if you put the cheese on first so it might absorb some of the liquid from the tomatoes?

dara said...

DSL: Maybe the shredded cheese, but not the fresh mozzzarella -- it gives off a ton of moisture.

If you let one sit on a countertop to get to room temperature -- or even if you just put it in a container in the fridge -- it'll sweat out milk. That's why a lot of them are kept in liquid.

CBK said...

Like DSL said, cheese before tomatoes. Do the cheese blend before the fresh mozz and tomatoes. Also, maybe use smaller pieces of tomatoes and fewer slices of mozz.

DSL said...

I might avoid the mozzarella altogether in this case.

dara said...

CBK: I used the amount of mozzarella called for in the recipe. And the tomatoes were sliced thin, and only 2 layers high. In total, it was only about three tomatoes. According to my research on the internets, my suspicion was correct and the real culprit was the crust.

DSL: See, to me, the whole point of the pizza is the mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella is one of my top 10 favorite foods. Especially if you can get it from an italian grocery store.

tingb said...

You're probably right about the crust, but seeding the tomatoes might have helped, too? Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm losing part of the tomato, but then other times I realize that it's what prevents my salad from becoming a mushy mess between when I make it and when lunchtime arrives.

dara said...

tingb: When I tried it again, I cut the tomatoes paper thin, and most of the seeds wound up lost. And there was noticeably less moisture the second time.