Summer pizza recipe: Fresh tomatoes, burrata and herbs
I think tomato season should be its own, added to the other four. Who’s with me?
Yes, I know tomatoes come into their own in the summer, but there is a window of time when they are at their very sweetest and juiciest. That’s when I like to make them the stars of meals.
This little pizza does just that. It also allows me to select from the various colours and sizes of tomatoes – yellow, orange, red, big and round, slender and small – that look so tempting this time of year at farmers markets and supermarkets.
If you get a pretty variety, this dish ends up looking a bit like a stained-glass window with the sun coming through, all bright, colourful and shiny.
This recipe was adapted from Miss Maggie’s Kitchen by Héloïse Brion (Flammarion, 2020), which has the subtitle “relaxed French entertaining”. The cookbook is one of those fantasy tomes with glorious photos that makes you imagine that this recipe was made with sun-warmed tomatoes plucked from a French garden.
The ingredient list may look a bit long, but preparation is simple and takes just 15 or 20 minutes. First, you slice and cook the onions. While they are browning, you toss multicoloured cherry or grape tomatoes and thick slices of large tomatoes with your choice of fresh herbs and a little honey and garlic. For weeknight dinners, I usually buy my pizza dough, if I don’t have any in the freezer. I layer that with creme fraiche, which gives the pizza a little tang, the sweet, browned onions and the varied fresh tomatoes.
The pizza is baked until the edges are browned and the centre bubbly. Then comes the best part: the finish. While the pizza is piping hot, scatter chunks of burrata over, and as they melt into the pizza, you can finish it with a sprinkling of fresh herbs. I like basil, but use your favourite.
Pizzas are easy to customise. If you don’t have creme fraiche, you can use goat’s cheese or even Greek yogurt. If you prefer meat on your pizza, you could add bits of ham or cooked sausage. One thing I hope you won’t find a substitute for is the burrata. It adds a creamy deliciousness that is difficult to replicate. If you don’t have burrata, however, you could drop small bits of fresh mozzarella or dollops of fresh ricotta.
My only rule for this pizza will be that I will make it only during the summer – during tomato season. We’ve tossed it together four times already, cutting it into small chunks and serving it as an appetiser or slicing big slabs for supper. I know we’ll make it again.
Brion writes in her cookbook that “sharing is essential in my life”. I’m glad she shared this recipe, so I could pass it along to you.
Big little summer tomato pizza
Active time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Storage notes: Leftover pizza can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in a preheated 180C oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus an additional 2 tsp for serving, if desired
1 small yellow or white onion, thinly sliced
¼ tsp fine sea salt or table salt, plus more as needed
¼ tsp finely ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp blend of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, rosemary and/or thyme (or 2 tsp dry), plus more for serving, if desired
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
¾ pint (about 200g) multicoloured cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large tomato, cut into ½cm slices
340g to 400g white or whole wheat pizza dough
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 (225g) ball burrata cheese, broken into pieces
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Place a pizza stone or unrimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 200C.
In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. If the onions begin to burn, reduce the heat and add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
While the onions are cooking, in a large bowl, combine the honey, herbs, garlic, cayenne pepper and a light sprinkling of salt, and stir to combine. Add the cherry tomatoes and the slices of tomato. Gently toss to coat.
Place a piece of parchment paper that’s about 30-by-40cm on the counter. Stretch or roll out the pizza dough into a thin oval or rectangle, about 25-by-35cm, on top of the parchment.
Spread the creme fraiche over the dough, leaving a 2.5cm border around the edge. Scatter the browned onions and grated parmesan over, then arrange the tomatoes on top in a single layer. Scoop any stray herbs and garlic from the bowl and add to the pizza, leaving behind any accumulated juices. Discard the juices.
Using the parchment, lift the pizza and carefully transfer it to the hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is browned. Scatter the burrata and additional fresh herbs, if using, over the hot pizza, drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, if using. Slice and serve.
Nutrition per serving (1 slice), based on 6 | Calories: 288; total fat: 17g; saturated fat: 8g; cholesterol: 44mg; sodium: 333mg; carbohydrates: 22g; dietary fibre: 2g; sugar: 6g; protein: 11g.
© The Washington Post