Tuesday, October 18, 2011
APPLE, FETA, AND PECAN PIZZA
As soon as I saw this recipe in the October issue of Cooking Light, I dogeared the page. I had almost skipped over it because the title contained the dreaded (to me) phrase “goat cheese,” but I quickly noticed that feta was suggested as a substitute, and I think we’re all aware how much I currently adore feta. I do think pizzas topped with salad are difficult to eat gracefully (I refuse to resort to a knife and fork), but I can never resist fresh arugula with lemon-Dijon vinaigrette, and when you add apples, pecans, and cheese, you’ve got a perfect early-autumn meal.
Everything came together exactly as you’d expect. My!New!Oven! hadn’t been installed yet, so I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, using my now-habitual cast-iron-skillet-on-the-stovetop method and finishing it under the broiler (the only part of Sad Old Oven that still functioned). I realized while typing this just now that the recipe calls for a “six-grain pizza crust,” implying some sort of prepared, pre-cooked product, whereas I started with actual dough. I’m specifying dough in the recipe below, but I don’t think it should make too much of a difference which one you use; you just may need to cook it a bit longer when starting with raw dough. Just use your common sense—pizza recipes are always just loose suggestions anyway.
I did make a few changes that aren’t shown below. I doubled the dressing and arugula quantities, heaping some of the salad atop the pizza and whatever didn’t fit off to the side of the plate. This makes for a heartier meal and also gives you something to do with all the bits of nuts, cheese, apple, and arugula that will inevitably tumble off the pizza as soon as you take your first bite; just let them fall onto the plate, and then when you’re done with your pizza, stir all the detritus into the remaining greens and you’ve got a nice side salad to enjoy! I also amped up the lemon juice a bit in the dressing, because the honey was more noticeable than I’d expected and I prefer a more acidic taste with my salad; next time I might try leaving out the honey completely because I don’t think the added sugar is really needed when you’ve already got baked fruit. But all in all, the flavors went together wonderfully—the sweet apple, salty cheese, earthy nuts, and lemony dressing combine for a simple yet sophisticated lunch or light supper.
1 pound pizza dough
3 cups thinly sliced Fuji apple (about 8 ounces)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta or goat cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons honey
2 cups baby arugula
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Roll out pizza dough and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Arrange apple slices evenly over crust; top with cheese. Sprinkle thyme evenly over cheese. Bake for 8 minutes or until crust is crisp and browned and cheese is melted.
3. Combine oil, mustard, lemon juice, and honey in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add arugula and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle pecans evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture.
Time: 40 minutes
Leftover potential: Good; just store the cooked pizza, dressing, arugula, and pecans separately and assemble them after reheating the pizza.