The idea for dinner tonight hit me at around 2pm. Sitting at my desk, slightly weary from the day, my thoughts wandered (as they sometimes do) to how I might console myself with dinner. I sat back for a moment and took a mental inventory of our refrigerator. Suddenly, I got a smoky, salty second wind: bacon! My first reaction to bacon is always BLTs, but then I wrenched my mind out of the deli drawer for a moment and remembered our shopping frenzy over the weekend: kale, whole wheat dough, fresh tomatoes, garlic, cheese. I’ve been at this long enough to recognize a pizza fantasy when it strikes. Resistance is futile.
Several months ago, Martha Stewart Living did a whole section on various pizzas that start on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet and then finish in the oven. We were hooked from the day that issue arrived. The possibilities are endless and the concept invites creativity and whim and, if you think about it, you can turn just about anything into a pizza. Sizzling, delicious, fresh-baked dough is but a delivery system for what you crave (or what you have on hand) and then you get to cover it with melted cheese. How can you possibly go wrong?
Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza
- Whole wheat pizza dough (you can get delicious fresh pizza dough at Trader Joe’s for less than $2) Pull out of fridge about 30 minutes before you start to bring to room temperature.
- 5 strips of bacon, cooked half-way to desired crispiness
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 bunch of flat leaf kale, washed and left in whole leaves
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
- olive oil
- flour for dusting
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil evenly across the surface of a cast iron skillet.
- Dust cutting board with flour and flatten dough by hand into a round that comes up just slightly above the bottom of a cast iron skillet.
- Press dough into oiled skillet, pushing down to create a crust at the edges.
- Brush dough with olive oil to cover with a thin layer.
- Distribute garlic evenly across dough.
- Arrange kale leaves with leaf tops at outer crust and stalk ends at center of dough in a circle .
- Brush kale leaves with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Squeeze lemon juice over kale leaves.
- Arrange bacon on top of kale leaves.
- Arrange tomato slices in a pattern over bacon.
- Distribute grated cheese over pizza
- Heat skillet over medium heat until crust begins to brown on bottom, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until edges turn golden brown.
- Turn broiler on high for two minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a cookie sheet. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then slice and serve.
I used the rest of the bunch of kale and another tomato and some additional grated pecorino cheese and made a nice fresh salad. I mixed some lime-infused olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs de provence into a simple dressing and then squeezed the lemon juice from the other half of the lemon I had left from the pizza over it. Then finished it with more grated cheese.