When people ask me what is my favorite food, I’ve never been able to give them a straight answer because I love variety and the unique flavors of so many cuisines. But, if I HAD to pick a favorite, pizza is certainly at the top of the list, so I was really pleased when Natasha and Lazaro announced that pizza was the theme for August’s Five Star Challenge.
The true origin of pizza differs depending on the source and whether you’re talking about the etymology of the word “pizza” (Latin), or what culture was the first to start adding toppings to flavor bread (Middle East and Mediterranean), or who invented the edible plate (Greeks). Generally, its agreed that pizza, as we know it, came from humble beginnings; a Galette flat bread with a red sauce, it was a dish of the poor people and sold in the streets of Naples, Italy in the 16th century. Later, after tomatoes were brought to Europe by explorers from the Americas, the sauce was made from oil and tomatoes.
Origins aside, pizza has evolved to gourmet status with a place on the menu of many a fine dining establishment. The pizza’s appeal transcends borders and its versatility knows no bounds – you can have pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert now!
The pizza I created for this challenge speaks to my roots in the South (the S in SXSW), my love of Southwestern flavors (the SW), and the bounty of tomatoes from our garden. This year we planted three varieties of tomatoes: Organic Beefsteak, Heirloom Black Krim, and Sweet Tangerine Hybrid and I used each one in this delicious vegetarian thin crust SXSW Pizza.
We’ve been having a problem with the Beefsteaks developing “blossom rot”, so have been picking them before they mature into their biggest, brightest, beautiful selves – this is the variety I used for the fried green tomatoes. The Black Krim’s have a dark maroon skin with red flesh, they grow to a medium-size which is perfect for bites of pizza, alternated with slices of the extra sweet, golden orange Sweet Tangerine Hybrid. With Marcella Hazan’s dough recipe (thank you, Angela of Spinach Tiger), a sprinkling of aged Asiago cheese and the delightful crunch and Southwestern flavors of toasted pepitas and smoky roasted corn – this was a garden fresh, gourmet pizza bursting with flavor that I think you’ll love and that I’ll be making again and and again.
- 1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
- 1 cup luke warm water divided into 1/4 cups
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached flour I used 3 cups, divided into 3 one measure cups
- Extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon for dough, 1 teaspoon for bowl and some for finished product
- 1/2 T salt
- Pizza stone or paddle if using oven (or cast iron griddle for grill)
- 2 small green tomatoes sliced and fried (see directions below)
- 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced
- 1 ½ cup asiago cheese
- toasted pepitas about ¼ cup
- kernels from 1 ear roasted corn*
- 1 roasted red hot cherry pepper seeded and diced
Dissolve yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water in large bowl, 10 minutes or less.
Add one cup flour. Stir with wooden spoon
Add in olive oil, salt, 1/4 cup water. Stir.
Add one cup flour. Stir.
Add 1/4 cup water. Stir.
Add one cup flour Stir.
Hold back on water and flour, adding as needed. I added water, but did not add the last 1/4 cup of flour. Stir. Dough should be manageable, but not sticky. At this point you can knead by hand for 10 minutes or place in your kitchen aid type mixer with dough hook for about 5 minutes.
Place in oiled bowl. Cover and set in warm place for three hours. Dough cooks and tastes best when chilled overnight. Take out and bring to room temperature. Divide the dough in half and roll out, using cornmeal so that it doesn't stick.
If you can manage it, give it a toss in the air several times to stretch the dough properly. I use a rolling motion with my hands to stretch the dough because I've never perfected throwing it in the air.
To Bake, heat pizza stone in oven for 30 minutes in pre-heated oven at 450 degrees.
To Grill, set your grill on highest heat, pre-heat cast iron griddle for 20 minutes
Whisk together egg and buttermilk. Combine cornmeal mix, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375° over medium-high heat. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt to taste.
Spread grated cheese on rolled out dough. Alternate fried green and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with pepitas, roasted corn, and red pepper. Bake in 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
*I brushed the corn with Gianni's Chipotle Garlic Balsamic, but extra virgin olive oil with a dash of chili seasoning works fine too.
Besides being a catchy acronym for the South by Southwest flavors in this fabulous pizza, SXSW also makes reference to the annual SXSW in Austin, Texas, the mega happening of interactive, media, music, and film festivals that one day I’d like to attend 🙂
Cheers to pizza in all its incarnations!
Wow- fried green tomato pizza! I love this combination of flavors and textures- you can make me a pizza any day! How about I trade you a slice of my apple tart for a slice of your pizza?? Let’s talk about October visit?? Now I can’t get your pizza off my mind and I have to make hamburgers tonight, too bad;-)
It’s a deal, Patty! I’ll message you the details – coming to Napa in mid-October and hoping to meet up with my NorCal friends while I’m there 🙂
Fried green tomato pizza is brilliant. The pizza looks wonderful, so colorful and lots of different textures makes it exciting. Outstanding contribution to the Cooking Club Priscilla!
Thank you, Lori Lynn! I’m always in awe of your creations so that means a lot to me 🙂
Fried green tomatoes are such a delicious summertime treat and I love how you incorporated them into this pizza! Great flavors going on, and I love the addition of pepitas for a nutty crunch!
The pizza looks great.
I love how colorful this is! What a great idea for pizza, so unique and a great addition to the makeover this month 🙂
Wow! You cannot look at this and not wanna eat it! And this is the best dressed, most delicious pizza I have ever seen!
That’s one sexy looking pizza!!
Oh I love how you put fried green tomatoes on here. That sound delish! It’s so pretty too!
What a lovely looking pizza! I love all the different colors of tomatoes that you used:) Simply awesome!
Magic of Spice
What a fantastic and creative idea for pizza… absolutely brilliant! I love the wonderful and unique texture added by the fried tomatoes against the fresh. Perfectly beautiful!
5 Star Foodie
A very creative fusion of Southern and Southwestern flavors in this gorgeous pizza! I adore the fried green tomatoes here! Excellent!
Bright and vibrant colors and flavors. I am huge fan of fried green tomatoes. Put them on a burger and it was culinary nirvana.
Another fantastic gourmet pizza for the coolest cooking club on the net.
Such an unique pizza! Fried green tomatoes alone has made my mouth water.
Love the flavours of this pizza. I wouldn’t have thought of putting them together like that. Looks really delicious.
Omg, fried green tomatoes on a pizza. That should be famous. Pizza is one of my favorite things as well, and … you have topped it with another one of my favorite things. Mmm.
I love the variety of tomatoes on this pizza. Looks so beautiful too. Awesome history on the pizza!
Those tomatoes look amazing. I did my first fried green last year and feel I am officially southern. I love the commitment here to the seasonal ingredients.
Angela, you are officially southern now! Thank you – the 5 Star Makeovers challenge me to be creative, but I stay the course with simple + seasonal 🙂
Clever combination! GREG
What a great variety of flavors on that pizza. It looks delicious.
If I were asked what my favorite cheese is, I would without hesitation say Asiago!
Priscilla, your tomatoes are so pretty! All of the colors on the pizza really make me wish I could take a bite. I love fried green tomatoes and I think that making them a pizza topping is such a fantastic idea. Great job!
Thank you, Marisa 🙂 I love how colorful your ratatouille pizza is, too 🙂
The history is so interesting, isn’t it? I could have gone on for pages! I am so jealous at your tomato bounty… gorgeous to use the rainbow on your pizza. You know, one of my favorite lasagna’s is a fried green tomato lasagna… really spectacular… putting it on a pizza and keeping them crisp is a great idea as are those pepitas and corn. One gorgeous pie!
Hi, Deanna! I’m totally intrigued by your mention of fried green tomato lasagna! The wheels are turning…
What a gorgeous pizza! I love the creativity that everyone brought to this roundup.
Hi Priscilla! Tomato pizza sounds so good! I like different types and colors you used with tomatoes. They are beautiful. Isn’t it great to cook for something that comes from our root? I luv it. Great entry to the makeover!
oh Priscilla! I’m way jelly of all those tomatoes you’re growing! Especially those black krims. How fantastic. And, I love how you named your pizza! Funny how I’m realizing through this round up how many people place pizza at the top of their fave lists!
Hi Bren! Yes, big fave and August’s makeover challenge was a fun way to express our love for pizza 🙂
Sandra's Easy Cooking
Oh my goodness, I am in love with your pizza..what an incredibly creative to put those toppings. Love it!
Have a wonderful Monday tomorrow:))
Your pizza looks awesome. I love how you topped it with fried green tomatoes. Brilliant! Beautiful beautiful photos