Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Pizza with Peaches and Prosciutto

Growing up, Fourth of July picnics in our neighborhood always involved the following:

1. One sacrificial pig: roasted all night long by a troupe of beer-soaked men who saw it as their patriotic duty to stand a drunken vigil as it reached succulent perfection;

2. A festive parade through the subdivision led by “Uncle Sam” waving from the bed of an old pickup truck (with a chintzy beard of cotton balls adhered to his face with Vaseline, he was predictably hung over from his previous night of Pig Duty with the other “Founding Fathers”); and

3. A huge pot-luck picnic by the neighborhood pool.

While the pig was always the centerpiece of the spread, I always saved room on my plate for what I like to call the Pillsbury Housewife Pizzas. You know exactly what I’m talking about here—a base of ready-made crescent roll or sugar cookie dough from the tube, cream cheese mixed with ranch salad dressing powder or powdered sugar, and topped with either salad veggies or mixed summer fruit. Spoon yourself some Suddenly Salad and a dollop of potato salad from the Piggly Wiggly deli counter, and you’ve got yourself a plateful of old school summer picnic magic.

Fast-forward twenty years to my adulthood. While I long for the mustard sauce-doused pork of my youth, I can leave the soggy, saccharine dessert pizzas behind. This Summer Pizza with Peaches and Prosciutto plays on all the elements of a sweet pizza, but stops just short of being a real dessert. Gorgonzola cheese is the creamy, piquant counter to ripe peaches. Fresh basil and mint lend a bright herbal flavor, and prosciutto and a little brown sugar perpetuate my favorite combination of salty and sweet.

If you’re drinking (and why shouldn’t you be?), try this pizza with a chilled Rosé or a yeasty, spicy, unfiltered Belgian wheat beer.

Prepared pizza dough, your favorite recipe (Note: I like to use the pizza dough recipe from the Joy of Cooking, which makes enough dough for two pizzas)
2 small to medium-sized ripe peaches, chopped
6 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
5 thin slices Prosciutto
5 basil leaves
8 mint leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
cornmeal for dusting
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 475° F. If using a pizza stone (recommended), preheat it in the oven as well.

2. When oven and stone are preheated, stretch and shape pizza dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle pizza stone/baking sheet with cornmeal, and transfer the dough to the stone. Brush crust lightly with olive oil. Par-bake for approx. 5-7 minutes, or until crust is just barely starting to show signs of browning.

3. While crust par-bakes, lay slices of prosciutto in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook briefly, just long enough to brown it gently, about 2-3 min. on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-covered plate. Prosciutto will crisp up as it cools. Once cool, break prosciutto into small pieces/strips.

4. Once par-baked, remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle on brown sugar, then peaches, prosciutto and Gorgonzola cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted and the crust has browned nicely. (Peaches will be heated through and perhaps a tad browned, but not broken down.)

5. Remove pizza from the oven. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, top with a chiffonade of basil and mint. Slice and serve.


Mom said...

Looks good! Great to talk to you will be missed at our picnic this weekend.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Hey Alex - it's good to see you blogging again!

I've left you on my Michigan Blogs part of my blogroll because I can't bear to move you over to Cooking Blogs from All Over.

This looks wonderful. I love the combination of proscuitto and peaches.

Al Malekoivc said...

Hi Alex: My name is Al Malekovic ( and I represent a very, very small company called Country Bob's, Inc. We are making a great sauce called, "Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce" and we would like to get the word out about our product.
I know that blogs are a great way to get information to the general public. I conducted a google search for food blogs and your name came and after looking at your blog, I was wondering if you would be interested in trying my sauce and perhaps reviewing it for me.

If you send me your name and address via e-mail, I would gladly send you a recipe brochure along with two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce in hopes that you would write a review.

If you would like more information, I would be glad to respond to any questions you might have. In fact, if you are interested in interviewing me after you've sampled the product, I would gladly make myself available!

Thank you for your consideration. I will also give you two two bottle give a ways and just email me the winners and we will mail out.

mlle noelle said...

Haha, I got the same offer from "Country Bob's"...

Glad to see some new posts, although it's taken me a minute to get back over here. I've been really into doing pizza on the grill this summer, and I bet this would be great. I love the extra flavor dimension AND the fact that it doesn't heat up the house.

Hope all's well for you and you're enjoying your new home!