We’ve had an Indian summer again in South East Queensland and we are still picking all the summer veg in late April — eggplant, zucchini, tomato, potato, capsicum, basil and more. So, I’m making the most of it.
Here’s one of my favourite recipes for making good use of a glut of gorgeous tomatoes: roasted tomato pizza with basil oil. Yum. Adding the cheese to the piping hot tomatoes after the pizza has been cooked creates tiny pools of melted cheese in the tomato halves and brings out the hidden sweetness of the cheese. Sheep’s milk has a higher fat content than cow’s milk and is perfect for making artisanal cheese. The Spanish say sheep’s milk is best for cheese, goat’s milk for milk and cow’s milk for butter. I think the Spaniards are spot on.
The cheese is optional. Without it, this pizza is vegan. Nice to know, vegan friends. 😉
Roasted cherry tomato pizza with basil oil
vegetarian | wheat free | vegan option
Makes 2 x 30 cm bases
450 g wholemeal spelt flour
1 packet (8 g) instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon rapadura sugar
200 ml tepid water
400 g heirloom cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs lemon thyme, leaves picked (garden thyme is fine)
½ bunch sweet basil, leaves picked
90 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh or 4 roasted garlic cloves
30 ml lemon, juice (about ½ lemon)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 heaped tablespoons tomato puree or paste
50 g semi-hard sheep milk cheese or parmesan
extra lemon thyme leaves
To make the pizza dough, place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the water and mix into a dough by hand. If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon of water until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to the bench and knead for ten minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Put aside for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
To make the roasted tomatoes, preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the tomatoes in half widthwise and place cut-side up on the tray. Spray or drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with seasoning and thyme. Roast for 20 minutes or until caramelised. Remove and cool.
Turn the oven up to 250 degrees and place a pizza stone or 30 x 30 cm solid terracotta or granite tile in the oven on the middle shelf. Cut the dough in half, wrap one half in cling film and freeze for later (will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months). Form the other half into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured bench to fit a lightly greased 30 cm pizza tray. Fit the dough on the tray and smear the tomato puree around the base, leaving a 2 cm border. Arrange the roasted tomatoes on the puree, place the pizza on the stone/tile and cook for 5 minutes. Using a pizza peel, remove the tray from the oven, then slip the peel under the pizza and place the pizza directly on the stone/tile and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the base is golden. Remove the pizza and serve on a large round timber board. While the tomatoes are still hot, finely grate the cheese over the tomatoes. Drizzle the pizza with basil oil and then finish with extra lemon thyme leaves. Serve with extra basil oil and paper napkins.