I work with a tremendously impressive group of people who I know for a fact regularly stay up thinking about how to improve the human condition. They think about how to eradicate polio, how to improve the education system in America, and how to ensure that the poor in developing countries have access to the financial services they need to get ahead. The most interesting fact about these people, is that they’re actually doing it. They actually are finding ways to get vaccines to the people who need them most, developing ways to measure teacher effectiveness, and designing mobile banking programs that are helping people put their kids through school. They actually are making a difference. Which is incredible…and very humbling.
As for me when tossing and turning late at night? I dream of pizza.
This morning, while laying awake having been woken up by both dogs who were now promptly snoring away, I couldn’t fall back asleep. At 4a I began thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. Doing a mental checklist of what was in my fridge, I came up with the perfect idea. Grilled pizza with an olive tapenade base topped with grilled zucchini, buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and homegrown basil.
This one may not save the world…but it certainly will make it more enjoyable in the meantime.
Make this when your garden is exploding with zucchini and you don’t know what to do with it. The smokiness from grilling it makes it much more complex and paired with the mozz/basil/tomato/olive combination is quite delicious.
Zucchini Pizza with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade
Serves 4. Pair with a moderate red wine such as a Moltepulciano
1 pizza dough, store-bought is fine. I like Trader Joes
6 ounces red pitted olives
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 TB
1 garlic clove
Salt and Pepper
1 large zucchini (about 1 – 1.5 lbs)
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Tapenade -Add the olives, garlic, and lemon juice to a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil in a steady stream while pureeing the mixture, and continue until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Zucchini – Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise, with a mandolin if you have it. You want pieces to be fairly thin. Brush with remaining 3 TB of olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini over high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and slightly charred. Set aside.
Pizza Dough – On a floured surface, stretch out the pizza dough to about a 10-12 inch circle. If you like, you can divide the dough before spreading it and make two smaller pizzas which will render it easier to manage on the grill. Brush one side with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the dough to the grill, oil side down, and cook over high heat with the lid closed until dough has set and is beginning to bubble. Note: You’ll want the grill quite hot when you add it so that it immediately starts puffing up versus falling through the grates. Once the first side is crisp and golden, add remaining sun-dried tomato oil to top side (the un-cooked side) and flip over. Cook 2-3 minutes, just until firm enough you can pull it off the grill.
Assembly – Spread the tapenade on the pizza (the side you cooked first). Layer with the grilled zucchini, mozzarella slices, and sun-dried tomatoes. Return to grill and cook another 5-7 minutes or until dough is completely set and cheese is bubbling. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Note: You’ll see in these admittedly mediocre pix that I did fresh tomatoes the first time I tried this. They over-powered the smokiness of the zucchini, so I made it again with sun-dried which I think were much more successful.
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