Decorate your summer pizza with squash blossoms
BY LYNDA BALSLEV
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Squash blossoms might make this pizza sound pretty fancy, but it really isn't. Delicate squash blossoms are everywhere at the farmers market at this time of year. I've been eyeing them and contemplating ways to easily incorporate the floppy, sunny flowers into a meal.
I've eaten blossoms fried and stuffed, but to be honest, I find them time-consuming to prepare and often oily and rich. So I decided to simply layer them, with no other preparation, on a white pizza — a pizza with no red sauce — and see what happened.
The results were resoundingly good and a unanimous hit at the dinner table. The flowers shriveled and crisped while cooking, which concentrated their subtle and nutty flavor. This was nicely rounded out by sweet Jimmy Nardello peppers, onions and a kick of heat from crushed red chili flakes. These fragile squash blossoms may be delicate, but it's clear that they are no shrinking wallflower.
For this recipe, you can make your own dough or purchase a good quality fresh dough from your supermarket, which is a simple shortcut for an easy meal. This recipe stretches 1 pound of fresh dough into a large rectangle, but you can also shape it into two smaller pizzas.
Squash Blossom Pizza With Sweet Peppers, Onions and Pecorino
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 (10-by-15-inch) pizza
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt for taste
1 pound homemade or prepared fresh pizza dough
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
½ cup thinly sliced sweet red peppers, such as Jimmy Nardello peppers
8 squash blossoms, quartered lengthwise
1 (8-ounce) fresh mozzarella ball, patted dry and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the grill for indirect cooking over high heat (about 500 degrees for a gas grill) and preheat a pizza stone for at least 15 minutes. (Or preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack and preheat for at least 15 minutes.)
Whisk the oil, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Stretch the dough out as thinly as possible and lay on large pizza peel (or rimless baking sheet lined with parchment). Lightly brush with the oil. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pizza. Top with the onions and peppers. Arrange the squash blossoms over the vegetables, and then place the mozzarella around the squash. Sprinkle the oregano, chili flakes and pepper over the pizza and lightly season with salt to taste. Top with the remaining cheese.
Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Close the grill lid and grill until the pizza is golden brown, about 15 minutes. (If baking in the oven, slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.) Remove and brush the crust with some of the oil. Drizzle any remaining oil over the pizza. Cut into serving pieces and serve immediately.
Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at email@example.com.