Happy Vegan Mofo everyone! I am late to the party after a very lengthy holiday weekend complete with very lengthy travel. But I made it, a little late, but I'm here, and I've got a suitcase full of tomatoes. Let me explain.
I have this little old Italian customer who comes in pretty regularly, and he always brings us something from his garden. He talks for a while about what he's growing and what's coming up next week, and I listen even though I have no idea what he's saying. I get bits and pieces, like ".....Arugula, Radicchio..." but his Italian accent is too cute to understand. Any way, check out this tomato he brought us! It's about 2 pounds and looks like a pumpkin.
I'm not sure what kind of tree or plant could support this heavy tomato ...
I really am disappointed with the produce I bring home from my local market. I often can't get tomatoes that aren't pink or already rotten-looking. But luckily, I was able to score a ton of tomatoes from my customer and made a fresh tomato sauce with them. I used some of my second round of tomatoes to make this tomato & garlic pie! Observe.
It's more like a deep-dish pizza, or a savory pie than a pizza, but it is reminiscent of a tomato pie I recently got in Philly, where the tomatoes and garlic just sang. There was pretty much nothing else on the pizza, save for some crushed chili flakes. So that pizza was my inspiration behind this pie.
I'd been wanting to try making pizza in my cast-iron pan, and thought maybe this would be a good first pizza to test it out with. It definitely turned out to be a fork and knife affair, but I'd do it all over again for that breadstick crust. It was as simple as pizza's get but very satisfyingly uncluttered. We've all had pizza with just too many toppings, and this is sort of the antithesis of a combination pizza that we all had growing up.
Mainly, it was a tribute to summer and its tomatoes. I wanted to do something with these tomatoes that I knew I simply couldn't do with canned or even the ones I occasionally grab from my neighborhood's bodega-like supermarket. They only come but once a year, after all. It's a basic pizza dough, but I like to double the recipe for one dough so that I can get that breadstick-like quality to the crust. The recipe is almost too simple to share, but in the spirit of vegan mofo, I'll write it out right quick.
KZ Out <3
2 balls of pizza dough, or your favorite pizza dough recipe doubled.
about 15 fresh average-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
7-8 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal or semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1-2 teaspoons chili flakes, depending on your heat threshold
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chopped tomatoes.
Stir on medium high for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down a bit, and the sauce is less chunky.
Add the salt, pepper, and chili flakes and turn off the heat. Set aside while you roll the dough out.
Preheat the oven to 500ºF.
Dust the bottom of the pan with the cornmeal so that it's evenly distributed on the surface of the pan.
Roll the dough out so that it's about 2 inches wider than the pan. I have a 12" skillet, so I rolled the dough into a 14" circle.
Carefully place the dough onto the prepared pan, and allow the edges to overhang. Don't move the dough around too much at this point, because the cornmeal is a barrier between the dough and the pan, and helps it not to stick.
Now, carefully fold the overhanging edges over and press against the side of the pan so that they stay in place. Now, using the back of a butterknife, seal the overhanging crust by pressing lines around the pan. (See picture!)
Now add your fresh tomato sauce into the center of the pie. Sprinkle the garlic around the top, adding extra chili flakes is desired.
Bake at 500ºF for about 15 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.
Let cool about 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the chopped basil.
Slice and serve!