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CSA Week 6, and Zucchini, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

July 21, 2009
CSA Week 6: 07.16.09

CSA Week 6: 07.16.09

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to say again this week: more surprises in our CSA share! But I suppose my delight at the changing produce in our share each week gets right to the heart of what I love about eating seasonally: especially during the summer, every few weeks there’s a new vegetable or fruit to revel in, to welcome back into your mouth and belly after having waited since last year to taste it again. It’s easy to get excited about zucchini, for instance, when I haven’t tasted one since last summer — memories of too! much! zucchini! are long gone, and the taste is like an old friend, come back to stay for a little while once again.

Our CSA share last week included: zucchini, yellow squash, purple kohlrabi, broccoli, garlic, napa cabbage (love this kind of cabbage), field greens, scallions, a cucumber, and collards.

csa_09_w6_collage

And in our fruit share: a doozy! Sweet cherries and black currants – which I was super excited to see, and taste, having never had them before! They’re like tiny, inky purple-black jewels, bursting with tart flavor. There’s a great article on black currants in the Summer issue of Edible Finger Lakes — which just came out! — and I was really interested to read that for over 50 years, there was a federal law banning them from being grown (as some older cultivars were hosts to white pine blister rust), with New York only lifting the ban in 2003. I haven’t decided yet what I’d like to do with them: maybe make jam, or I’m toying with the idea of a tart, with a layer of jammy black currants covering a creamy custard base.  I also have a whole duck, for roasting, in my freezer and I’m thinking the currants could be part of a terrific sauce for it. If anyone has a way they like to use black currants, please let me know in the comments!

csa_09_w6_fruit

While my gears still turn on the currants, let’s talk about zucchini: specifically, as a topping for pizza. I love zucchini paired with basil — something about that flavor combination really works! — and the pair also goes fantastically well with goat cheese. So zucchini, summer squash, basil and goat cheese were the focus of our pizza last Friday, and wow, was it a hit!

pizza_roastedzucchini_6

One of the things I’ve learned through trial and error in our years of Friday night pizzas is that many vegetable toppings are even better when they’re cooked a bit before being laid on top of the pizza. This rule doesn’t necessarily apply in all situations — thinly sliced mushrooms or peppers take kindly to being scattered across a pizza before baking in their raw state — but things like dark leafy greens and summer squash taste so much better when you’ve cooked them just a bit, separately, before using them as a topping. For raw zucchini and summer squash, at least, the heat of the oven isn’t enough to cook them enough before the pizza’s done, so you end up with a pizza topped with half-cooked, bland, steamed versions of what the vegetables really could be.

pizza_roastedzucchini_1

So an easy solution: grill or roast your thin slices of zucchini and summer squash before topping your pizza. The flavor is so much more pronounced, and it doesn’t take that much extra prep time (you can grill or roast a bunch up in advance, or while you’re prepping the other ingredients for the pizza.)

pizza_roastedzucchini_2

I made this as a white pizza, and the layers went as follows: a little shredded mozzarella and cheddar, just enough to cover the crust; 1 clove of minced garlic; a shake of hot pepper flakes; slices of roasted zucchini and summer squash; torn basil leaves, then crumbles of fresh local goat cheese to top it off.

pizza_roastedzucchini_4

pizza_roastedzucchini_3

So delicious.

____________________________________________________________________

Zucchini, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

an Eggs on Sunday original
view printable recipe

Ingredients
1 lb. pizza dough (my favorite recipe or yours)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
a pinch of hot pepper flakes
a small handful of basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced into chiffonade
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces fresh goat cheese

Directions

If you’re roasting the squash, preheat the oven to 425. Lay the slices of squash out on a sheet pan, brush them with olive oil on both sides, and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast until the bottoms are brown, then flip and continue roasting until the tops have started to brown as well. This usually takes me about 20 minutes total. (Alternatively, you can grill the squash.) Set aside.

When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Roll out your pizza dough onto a peel or the back of a sheet pan (dust the peel or sheet pan with flour or cornmeal first, or you can roll the dough out onto parchment first before transferring it to the stone.) Top with the shredded cheeses, then the garlic, hot pepper flakes, roasted/grilled squash slices, torn basil leaves, and crumbled goat cheese.

Bake pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 8-10 minutes.

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 8:26 pm

    STUNNING produce!

  2. July 21, 2009 8:32 pm

    I know what you mean, Amy. Even though I’m sad to see asparagus and strawberries and shell peas slip out of season, all the shiny, new options really lessen the blow. This pizza looks wonderful!

  3. Diana permalink
    July 21, 2009 8:48 pm

    This looks really yummy! I just got my first zucchini from my garden this weekend, with more on the way. Thanks for the great idea. The kale pizza was amazing!

  4. July 21, 2009 9:12 pm

    I am so totally making this pizza. YUM.

  5. July 21, 2009 9:13 pm

    Your pizza looks wonderful. I always think of a red sauce when I think of pizza, but it’s time to realize there is a whole ‘nother world out there!

    • July 22, 2009 1:11 pm

      Dana – I know; I often forget about “white” pizzas, too, but they’re so delicious for a change!

  6. Emily permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:40 pm

    You’re killing me Amy — this looks fantastic! Meanwhile, we need to meet for coffee soon, and you’d better get out your cucumber recipes, as Andrew picked 15 from our patch today!!

    • July 22, 2009 1:11 pm

      Oooh, yes please to both of the above (coffee and cukes!) I’ll email you :)

  7. July 21, 2009 11:34 pm

    Oh yeah, totally agree about parcooking squash before the pizza– it allows you to control exactly how they’ll be when the pizza is done. Beautiful pie :)

  8. Betsy permalink
    July 22, 2009 1:39 am

    You’re totally expanding my horizons on what constitutes a pizza topping with this one – and we have a large zucchini and some pizza dough in our fridge!

    • July 22, 2009 1:12 pm

      Hey Bets – sounds like you have the makings of a good pizza on your hands! ;)

  9. July 22, 2009 2:06 am

    Hi!
    I know what you mean about fresh, seasonal veggies, its just so exciting to think of all the things you can do with them! You mentioned having a duck, and the red currants, and it reminded me of when I was a child, we used to have duck for Christmas, and my Mom always used to stuff the duck with something sweet, like prunes, and use a red currant jelly with the duck. The combiniation of sweet and slghtly tart was fantastic! Of course, she always used a store bought, bottled version, but I can’t think its difficult to make a red currant jelly to go with your roast duck!
    Hope that helps, enjoy it!!

    • July 22, 2009 1:12 pm

      That sounds delicious! Thanks for the great idea. I think I might make some black currant jam, and then I can use it throughout the year in different dishes (like a roasted meat dish during the holidays…sounds like a great idea!)

      • July 23, 2009 8:32 am

        In the Colonial Williamsburg cookbook, there is a colonial game pie with duck, rabbit, and venison that is topped with currant jam, which is amazing!

  10. July 22, 2009 8:00 am

    *swoon* this sounds amazing, right up my alley ;) I found some sour cherries at a farmers market monday and got so excited… now i’m just trying to decide what to do with them! (any ideas i can throw into the mix? :))

    • July 22, 2009 1:13 pm

      A pie is always a good use for sour cherries! Or maybe cobbler, or crisp? I made a cherry and chocolate clafouti the other day that I’ll post soon. I’m sure whatever you make will be delicious!

  11. July 22, 2009 12:05 pm

    Looks fabulous! I love goat cheese on a pizza, and those veggies look great.

  12. katemotter permalink
    July 22, 2009 1:07 pm

    Looks yum! I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen last week and I’m actually planning on making it for dinner tonight. Can’t wait!

    • July 22, 2009 1:14 pm

      Hi kate – yes, Deb did something similar, though not entirely the same! I think she spread goat cheese all over the crust and used some lemon, and didn’t cook the squash beforehand…I’m sure hers was delicious too, just a little different take on the ingredients! Enjoy your pizza :)

      • katemotter permalink
        July 29, 2009 6:52 pm

        i must admit i took your tip and cooked the squash before hand! good call! and yes the pizza was delish!

  13. Erin permalink
    July 22, 2009 5:21 pm

    That is amazing!!! That crust looks superb….do you mind divulging the recipe???

    • July 22, 2009 5:25 pm

      Hi Erin – whoops, I had forgotten to include the link in the recipe…it’s updated now, and you can also find it in my Recipe Index under Breads. Enjoy!

  14. Theresa permalink
    July 22, 2009 6:52 pm

    Wow! everything looks wonderful! Today’s NY Times had an article about currants, including a couple of recipes. The link is below. I’m tempted to try the sorbet this weekend if I can find them tomorrow at the Red Jacket stand downtown.
    enjoy!
    Theresa

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/dining/22currant.html?ref=dining

  15. July 22, 2009 11:04 pm

    Your CSA last week looks almost exactly like ours did down here in Brooklyn with the Clinton Hill CSA. Zucchini and all. I never thought of cooking the zucchini before adding it to the pizza, but that makes complete sense though. Par-cooking them would also limit the amount of liquid/water seeping out to your pizza as well. And thanks for that pizza road map. I was planning to make a similar pizza this weekend anyway!

  16. July 23, 2009 7:23 am

    We used your recipe for this pizza last night and my partner and I agreed — it was the best pizza we had ever made. And we make a lot of pizza! I used a lemon cuke and squash from our CSA. Thanks for sharing, it was a delight.

  17. July 24, 2009 2:34 am

    beautiful pics and that pizza looks delicious!
    -muffy

  18. July 24, 2009 2:07 pm

    Mmmmmm. Looks delicious. I love your recap and the pizza looks lovely. I look forward to my CSA share each week. Unfortunately I will not be there to collect it next Monday so a friend is grabbing it for me but I cannot wait to return from my vacation to see what I got. My meat share also starts tomorrow so I am excited for sustainably and ethically raised meat.

  19. July 27, 2009 2:46 pm

    This is a wonderful and amazing pizza recipe. I work with Chavrie and this gets a Stumble from me!

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