A craving for cheese, bread, potatoes & the pitter-patter of tiny feet...
March 9, 2016
Wood Roasted Salmon and Basil Pesto Pizza
October 7, 2014
A memorable pizza is one of life’s simplest pleasures. There’s nothing quite like it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s okay to eat it with your hands, even in public surrounded by strangers!
While we were living in Italy, we often ventured to our local pizzeria with a group of friends to while the night away over glasses of Lambrusco and ginormous pizzas. I kid you not the large pizzas were the size of our now dining room table! There were also the metre long pizzas…enough said there.
What was different in Italy however was that the pizzas were lovingly hand-crafted of a feathery thin base allowing each slice to be literally rolled up like pizza cannelloni. The delicate bases would be topped with mozzarella or sometimes buffalo mozzarella (a speciality in our region and at one particular pizzeria in Parma), fresh tomatoes and the most delicious local prosciutto. A mound of bitter peppery rocket would often be piled on top to form a mountain of green to cut through the saltiness of the prosciutto.
I remember the prosciutto being carved ever so thinly, it was such an art. I use to love watching it be delicately sliced and then piled into white paper and carefully bundled up into a wee parcel for my bike journey home. Whenever we were served prosciutto as part of aperitivo, I’d eat it straight off a shared plate with a fork drizzled in only extra virgin olive oil. For some reason I used to love eating it that way! When we first moved to Emilia-Romagna, I thought that the prosciutto tasked like marmite but now I profusely apologise to all of my Italian friends for such horrific thoughts. Especially now that I can’t just bike down the road to fetch freshly carved slices of prosciutto whenever I feel like it. Those Italian’s sure do make a good ham.
While I’m still searching for a pizzeria experience like those that we were so very lucky to experience as part of our ‘normal’ Italian life, I still love a good homemade pizza. As a Coeliac living in Italy, I was often drooling at the pizza that was delivered to the table as my gluten-free base didn’t quite roll like everyone else’s. Although they were super delicious to eat even without the roll! I did once think that the pizza was worth the ‘gluten consequences’ but that quickly didn’t work out as either a sensible or sustainable solution to my pizza envy.
Homemade pizza is such a deliciously simple way to please everyone and is a great way of encouraging little ones (and adults!) to try different vegetables. Even if you don’t have time to make your own base, using a good quality base and then topping it with whatever goodies you have on hand still makes a delicious and simple dinner. It tastes even better eaten outdoors with grass squishing between your toes and a lovely glass of wine to wash it all down (of course the wine part is for the adults only).
Because my kale has been growing like mad, we’ve been enjoying our homemade pizza with crispy kale chips. These are the perfect wee accompaniment to amp up the vegetable content of a pizza meal rather than being heavy handed on the meat and cheese. Or you could do Italian styles and top your pizza with a huge pile of rocket.
On this occasion, I used basil pesto to line the base topped with new season sliced red peppers, chunks of wood roasted salmon, a little mozzarella cheese and crumbled feta all topped off with cubes of fresh avocado and a huge side of kale chips. It’s certainly not a traditional Italian combination but delicious nonetheless! It also made use of a handful of ingredients that needed eating. I’m all for being thrifty.
It wasn’t long ago I was probably just setting out for a Saturday night on the town but these days homemade pizza and a glass of wine in hand and I’m my happiest, at home in our little 80’s abode. Maybe I’m just getting old or maybe it’s just small town living?! Heck, I don’t care when dinner tastes this good!
I haven't included measurements below because with pizza it doesn't really matter. Just go with the flow and construct your masterpiece!