I’ll bet you already know that a Caprese Salad is made of tomatoes, mozzarella, and Basil, but did you know that “Caprese” means “of Capri?” When I was a kid in Naples, my dad’s boss had use of a medium-sized boat and we went to Capri often, anchoring off-shore, swimming, snorkeling, and occasionally, walking up the beach to have lunch. Of course, pizza was the lunch of choice for my brother and me.
|Fresh, fresh, fresh!|
Although we can now get real Italian tomatoes in cans, sauces, and tomato paste, there is nothing that compares to fresh Italian tomatoes. But, we made this pizza with tomatoes and basil grown in our own garden, so it was really good and fresh.
We always use Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza Dough recipe. You can shorten the rising time to 20 minutes by using instant yeast. For this pizza, I used Basil Olive Oil in the dough.,
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
- 1 package dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- toppings of your choice
Preparation: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
|Ready for the oven|
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled.)
Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500º F. Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the toppings of your choice over the inner circle.
Using a lightly floured baker’s peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately.
For the topping, we used Trader Joe’s Rustico Sauce, then evenly spaced tomato slices, topped them with fresh Mozzarella slices, and leaves of Basil.
|Fresh from the oven.|
|My parents & me on the boat from Naples to Capri circa 1973|