Cherry Picking Pizza
Sweet cherries marinated in balsamic vinegar & brown sugar, garlic butter sauce base, crumbled gorgonzola, sauteed shiitake mushrooms & thyme, toasted almonds, arugula, shredded parmesan
1 ball pizza dough (you can buy these for a couple bucks at most pizza places—the fresher the better)
flour & olive oil for the dough
1-2 cups sweet cherries, sliced & pitted
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed & chopped
1 cup sliced almonds
1 handful baby arugula
1-2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & caps sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
~1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola (or however much you need for a light layer over your whole pizza; this goes for both cheeses)
~1 cup shredded parmesan
salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go, and let your pizza stone heat up as it preheats. Sprinkle some flour on the countertop where you plan to place the dough.
Start with the cherries. Place them in a bowl with the balsamic and brown sugar, and stir well, then put them in the refrigerator to marinate. This can be done the night before, or at least a half hour before you plan to use them.
To prepare the dough, pick it up and start stretching from the center, and then move it around in a circle so that gravity stretches it and creates a natural crust. I find that it helps to put some olive oil on your hands first. Then place the dough on your floured surface and push it out with your fingertips until it’s the size of your pizza stone. You can fold over the edges to create an extra fluffy crust.
Next, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and a pinch of salt and sauté until they are soft and browned.
To make the sauce base, melt the butter over medium heat along with the garlic. Let the butter absorb the garlic flavor for about 5 or so minutes, but don’t let it burn.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds in another pan over medium heat. Shake them every 30 seconds or so until they are toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
When the oven is finished preheating, sprinkle some flour on the pizza stone and place your dough on it. Bake it for about a minute, or until it starts to bubble. Then take it out and brush it with a light layer of olive oil.
Pour the garlic butter sauce on the pizza—if there is too much liquid on the crust, you can blot it lightly with a paper towel. Then add the gorgonzola, cherries, mushrooms, almonds, and parmesan, and place it back in the oven. The pizza won’t take long to cook—just keep an eye on it until the crust starts to turn a golden brown. After you take it out of the oven, sprinkle with a handful of fresh arugula and enjoy!