Balsamic Glazed Oven Dried Tomato and Carmelized Green Pepper and Onion Pizza
In anticipation of the 3 or 4 solid days of lake effect snow which was predicted to torment northern Indiana, I took an obligatory trip to Sam's Club over the weekend to stock up on the essentials and the desirables. Looks like we stacked up about 12 inches in all, but since it has been spread out over a few days the impact has not been catastrophic. However, despite a forecasted respite for the next couple of days, another significant snow event is predicted for the upcoming weekend, but I digress. The original point was that while I was at Sam's, in addition to t.p., paper towels, wine (you can't have a snow storm without wine), and cleaning supplies, I also picked up a package of beautiful plum tomatoes. As I determined after arriving home and unpacking the deluge of items from my Jeep, it would be rather difficult for me to consume all 24 tomatoes chopped up in my salad or simply sliced on my tuna sandwich. I decided to devote one of these snowy days to oven drying a portion to chewy, sticky, sweet jeweled perfection for use throughout the week. First up, a pizza. Simple toppings of hot pepper spiked garlic olive oil, caramelized green pepper and onion and these little tomatoey lovelies made a superb homemade pizza, without any specialized equipment or ovens.
Balsamic Glazed Oven Dried Tomatoes
plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat each tomato. Roast in the oven for approximately 4-5 hours or until they are caramelized and dehydrated but still plump. To store, cover with olive oil, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Hot Pepper Spiked Garlic Olive Oil
1 cup olive oil
4 or 5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Place all ingredients together in a cold sauce pan. Turn heat to low and bring up to temperature together. Let garlic sizzle gently for a couple of minutes but do not brown. Turn off heat and let oil steep to develop the garlic and hot pepper flavors. Mash garlic into oil and use as a condiment for pizza or salad dressing.
Basic Pizza Dough adapted from a recipe by Chris Bianco in "The Gourmet Cookbook"
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dredging
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour (about 1/2 cup) so dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead dough on a dry surface with lightly floured hands (reflour hands when dough becomes too sticky) until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into 4 balls for individual pizzas and put on a lightly floured surface and generously dust with flour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.
To shape the dough for grilling, do not punch down dough. Carefully dredge 1 ball of dough in a bowl of flour to coat and transfer to a dry work surface. Holding one edge of dough in the air with both hands and letting the bottom touch work surface, carefully move hands around edge of dough (like turning a steering wheel), allowing the weigh of dough to stretch to roughly 4 inches. Transfer to a floured tray and work edges with fingers to get desired shape. Let side on tray for about 15 minutes and prepare per recipe.