nosh friday: pizza with figs, prosciutto and arugula
When I was in Ireland this past fall, I was interested to see that when I ordered a pizza in a restaurant, it arrived with a fresh little cap of crisp arugula, quickly tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I loved the peppery, fresh bite it gave the pizza.
I came across a recipe for Fig, Prosciutto, Gorgonzola and Arugula Pizza on The Way the Cookies Crumbles and immediately decided it should star at my upcoming pizza night at the home of my dear friend and personal chef extraordinaire Amanda. This was one of two pizzas we made, but I think it was the clear winner as to our favorite of the night. Paired with my vegan dark chocolate mousse and a bottle of white wine from Black Star Farms, it was a delicious evening.
We altered the recipe a little to our own personal tastes (which, let’s face it, I do to most recipes; I’m a maverick, what can I say). I hate bleu cheese and Amanda hates goat cheese, so we settled on fontina, because it melts beautifully and has a creamy taste without being overly rich. We also soaked dried figs in a little strawberry balsamic vinegar instead of using fresh figs, which are impossible to find in the summer anyway. I loved the chewy texture of the dried figs and the sweetness of balsamic oozing out of them was perfect.
Please, please try this pizza — you will not be sorry.
Pizza with Figs, Prosciutto and Arugula
Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
1/2 batch of pizza dough (I used Pioneer Woman’s Basic Pizza Dough recipe, swapping out one cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat; it gave the crust a chewy texture and a little extra whole grain)
Cornmeal, to prevent sticking
4-6 dried figs, sliced and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar
8 slices prosciutto, chopped
1 cup shredded fontina cheese (you could also use bleu cheese or goat cheese, if it suits your fancy)
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups fresh arugula, tossed with 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone on the middle rack to preheat for a half-hour.
Get out your favorite pizza peel or be thrifty and use the back of a cookie sheet; sprinkle it with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking. Using your fingers, spread the dough out into a circle. Sprinkle with the dried figs and prosciutto, then top with the fontina. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil.
Loosen the pizza from the cookie sheet/pizza peel by running a spatula under the edges and gently shaking the sheet, making sure that the pizza is loose enough to slide easily onto the hot pizza stone. Once the pizza stone is heated, open the oven, pull out the rack and carefully shake the cookie sheet so that the pizza slides onto the stone. (This was my first time doing this and I was nervous, but it went off perfectly. Don’t be nervous; be confident with the pizza and show it who’s boss!)
While the pizza is baking, toss the arugula with a little balsamic vinegar and set aside. Bake the pizza for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Remove and top with the arugula salad. Cut into pieces and devour.
Serves 4 people (or 2 excessively greedy ones, like us)