Can we talk about gardening for a sec? Look, I totally failed at it this year. Miserably. How about you?
In the past, I have made a good effort to grow some of our own food. And every season I have put up at least a little fresh, local produce for winter. But this year? I just didn’t. Overwhelmed by my yard and the state of my gardens, I just ignored it all. Of course, that hasn’t worked out so well either. (How could it? Ignoring the garden means … weeds!) So, now I am in the throws of cleaning up the gardens, preparing for winter and also readying everything for a good growing season in the spring. It’s not an easy job, but the promise of juicy tomatoes from my own garden and my kids’ favorite dill pickles makes it worth it.
Because I didn’t do any growing this year, all our tomatoes came from farmer’s market, our CSA and occasionally the grocery store this summer. Fortunately, my cousin’s farm had a good tomato season — and even grew some of my favorite tomatoes: green zebra. And our locally owned grocery store? They source as much produce as they can locally during our growing season. So we enjoyed a lot of tomatoes this summer anyway. Wherever the source, BLT sandwiches (and caprese salad) are among the finer delights of any summer and early fall.
When I was asked to create a new pizza recipe highlighting bacon, I jumped to the BLT that I love so much. Darling BLT, meet my friend, pizza. After all, bacon and tomatoes really go well together. But the lettuce? Well, that transforms this into salad pizza … and I really love salad pizza.
Salad pizza and I were first introduced in the Reader’s Digest cafeteria, back when I was an editor for the Weekly Reader division. We’d recently moved offices from Stamford, Connecticut, to Pleasantville, New York, and everything was new there — the scenery, the environment, the food. I remember looking skeptically at the square slice of pizza piled high with salad and thinking the cafeteria staff must be crazy. How could you eat that?
But then I did try it at the beckoning of one of the chefs, and I fell in love with the combination of pizza crust, melted mozzarella and vinaigrette-dressed salad on top. (Note, I added the vinaigrette … a delicious addition). After that, I enjoyed salad pizza on a semi-regular basis for lunch.
This warm pizza is so easy to make, which I say about many things I cook — but only because it’s true. Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust (it’s whole grain!) is baked, then topped with ricotta, mozzarella, sweet grape tomatoes and crispy, salty bacon. Then it’s baked a little more. When it comes out of the oven, you sprinkle on the lettuce — a cool contrast to the hot pizza. It’s rich, but refreshing all at once.
And hey, if you like BLTs, hold the mayo, as much as I do … you’ll probably love this too.
Disclosure: I was compensated by Pillsbury for creating this recipe.