Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fig-Gorgonzola Pizza

Figs are one of the most ephemeral fruits of the summer growing season. For as sad as I am when strawberry season finishes up its few week run, it seems like figs are only around for a few days. I'm often underwhelmed by the ones available at the grocery store. They go moldy within a day or two of purchase. The fruit itself goes from green to ripened to gross within a very short time window. That fact makes it difficult to transport figs very far from their source. The only alternative to planting a fig tree myself is to go to the farmer's market. Once bought, plan on using your figs within a day or so to make sure they have the best flavor and texture. Here's the one recipe I managed to cook up during this year's fig season:

Fig-Gorgonzola Pizza
Makes 4 servings. From Bon Appetit.

1 lb pizza dough
1.5-2 cups Gorgonzola
6 figs, thinly sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
8 slices prosciutto
1 tbsp olive oil
8 cups arugula

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle cornmeal on a large baking sheet. Roll dough out on a floured surface to approximately a 12"x10" rectangle (mine looked more like a triangle, but that's ok). Sprinkle Gorgonzola over dough (use whatever amount you are comfortable with; 2 cups is a pretty intense Gorgonzola flavor). Sprinkle with pepper. Bake pizza until crust is golden brown on the bottom, 15-20 minutes.

Naked Gorgonzola Pizza

Meanwhile, toss figs with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. When pizza is golden brown, immediately drape with prosciutto slices, covering the pizza completely. Arrange fig slices over the pizza. Bake until figs are just heated through, about 1 minute more. Transfer pizza to cutting board.

Pizza Topped with Arugula

Whisk remaining 1 tbsp vinegar and oil in a large bowl. Toss arugula and season with salt and pepper. Mound arugula on top of pizza. Cut into pieces and serve.

Pizza Slice

Dried figs, available year round, are quite delicious and make a lovely accompaniment to salty cheese or even in a sauce for meat. But fresh figs are a different animal (or plant) altogether. They are fresh and fruity with a very particular figgy flavor. Combine this sweetness with some salty Gorgonzola and meaty prosciutto and you've got a winning pizza. And why have a side salad when you can put it right on top of the pizza? The crisp crust forms a great base for all these toppings. And unlike the pizzeria versions, one quarter of this pizza is enough to make a good meal. Or cut it into smaller pieces and serve it as an appetizer. Whichever you choose, enjoy the figs while they last.

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