Happiest pizza Thursday to ya all!
Thursday needs pizza like Monday needs a giant fudgy brownie loaded with chocolate frosting!
Yes, that is how Mondays go over here.
Soo, I know this pizza isn’t the prettiest, but I do promise it’s delicious.
If you are hating me right now because you cannot stand blue cheese of any kind, then I am so sorry. People either seem to love it or hate, but I love it – and I love it with stone fruits like nectarines… and on top of a cheesy pizza… with a sweet and spicy balsamic glaze to top everything off… yes, yes, yes!
So amazing together!
I really wanted the flavors of the pesto and the nectarines to shine so I kept this pizza’s toppings super simple.
I started things off by grilling the pizza dough. I wanted my pizzas to be thin and crisp. I didn’t want the bread to overtake the nectarines so to me thin crust just seemed like a good idea. Also, I wanted the pizza to taste similar to those baked in a wood fire pizza oven, therefore the grill seemed like my best bet. And holy heck, it was awesome.
For the rest of the summer I am grilling my pizzas. It just makes the dough taste spot on. Slightly charred and perfectly cooked.
Once the dough was grilled, I covered the pizzas in toasted walnut pesto and then umm, a whole lot of fontina cheese. Pizza without cheese? Well, I just do not know how you vegans do it. My pizzas are always loaded with cheese. Normally, if I am photographing the pizza earlier in the day and then re-heating it for dinner I will actually add more cheese just so we all get some fresh melted cheese on our re-heated pizza. I know. Crazy.
Then comes the caramelized nectarines. Typically I would never cook my nectarines. Well… I really never wanted cooked fruit. I always wanted to eat it all fresh, but for the sake of this blog I have been trying new things.
And I now know that caramelized nectarines are amazing. And gorgonzola cheese, plus a lot of basil makes them even better.
Also spicy balsamic drizzle. Guys, it has got a kick and it’s a freaking killer.
And that’s pretty much the story of this pizza. It’s sweet, spicy and so, so cheesy.
Can you tell I am ready for Friday?
And more pizza?
Toasted Walnut Pesto and Caramelized Nectarine Pizza w/ Spicy Balsamic Drizzle.
Yields: TWO 8-12 INCHISH THIN CRUST PIZZAS
- Pizza Dough
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Toasted Walnut Pesto
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or more or less to your liking)
- pepper, toasted
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 nectarines, sliced thin
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or honey
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil
- 6 ounces crumble gorgonzola or blue cheese
- 2 jalapeños, sliced (optional)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (use a little or as much as you wish)
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and honey. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in the flour and olive oil stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, on a floured surface, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour into the dough if needed. You can also do all the mixing and kneading in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Now rub the same bowl with olive oil, then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
Place a small skillet over medium-low heat and add the walnuts. Toast the walnuts for 5-8 minutes, stirring and watching closely to make sure they do not burn. You will know they are toasted by the smell. Once toasted, remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes.
Add the cooled toasted walnuts, basil and parmesan to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground and then drizzle in the olive oil. Add the pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired. Taste and adjust to your liking.
!To make the pizza.
Heat a medium skillet over high heat and add the butter. Add the nectarines to a bowl and toss with coconut sugar or honey. Add the nectarines in a single layer to the hot skillet. Sear for 1 minute and then flip and sear another minute more or until lightly caramelized. Remove the nectarines from the skillet and repeat with any remaining nectarines.
Preheat the grill to high heat or heat a large cast iron grill pan or skillet. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter. Divide the dough in half. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough out until you have a flattened disk. Place the pizzas on a greased baking sheet and then use your hands to gently tug, pull and push the pizza dough into your desired shape. You may also use a rolling pin for this. Rub each piece of dough with olive oil. Once the grill is hot carefully transfer the pizza doughs to the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred. Flip and grill one minute longer. Immediately remove from the grill and place on a baking sheet.
Divide the pesto between the two pizza's. Now add the shredded fontina to both pizzas. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and then the nectarines. Sprinkle the blue cheese over then nectarines. Add the sliced jalapeño if desired. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Remove and allow to cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve with the spicy balsamic drizzle (below)
!Spicy Balsamic Drizzle
Add the balsamic vinegar, coconut sugar and sambal oelek to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until liquid reduces by about half and is slightly syrupy. Remove from heat, pour vinegar in a bowl or glass to drizzle over pizza when ready. Set aside to cool and thicken. Serve with the pizza.
Because I so am!! Tomorrow, tomorrow it’s only a day a way!