I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
I am still trying to adjust to the subtropical climate of south Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. My east coast family and friends, and even those in New Mexico, might chuckle to hear me describe a day in the autumn sunshine in McAllen, Texas. All things are relative, right? 🙂 We’ve finally dropped into the eighties during the day, and sunset on the patio beckons! Thus, my Fresh Fig & Soppressata Pizza was assembled on the pizza stone accessory for our new propane grill, and cooked outdoors. As the sun sets, a few fireflies twinkle about. I may eventually adjust…
Mark and I were excited to discover the results using our propane grill and a pizza stone very closely resemble a wood-fired pizza. The crust had just a bit of char, the bottom was crispy, and the interior moist and tender. Delicious! We plan to get a lot of use out of this new kitchen “toy.”
First, let’s talk about our “star” ingredient – the luscious fresh fig. Figs typically have a short initial season in early June, and an extended season that runs late summer into fall. Figs don’t tolerate freezing temperatures well, and may be more difficult to find in colder climates. The fruit is very fragile, bruises easily, and may spoil if neglected. 😥 I recently threw out most of an egg crate type container of Brown Turkey Figs that I left on my butcher block for 24 hours. The combination of the warmth and humidity of my perfectly ripe figs in an enclosed container provided ideal growing conditions for mold. If your figs are ripe, store them in a cool, dry place, not in an enclosed plastic carton. The refrigerator will rob them of some their flavor. You’ll just have to eat them within a day or two! About Figs.
Secondly, have you tried soppressata? This cured meat is an Italian dry salami, and typically is quite spicy with the addition of red pepper. One may wish to avoid considering the ingredients that go into this savory and delicious sausage – as is often the case with sausage – and focus on the flavor it brings to the dish! It works well in many of the same dishes as other Italian meats such as prosciutto and pepperoni. Initially, I made this pizza with a packaged soppressata which was sliced extremely thin. Subsequently, I asked the deli counter attendant to use her #7 blade (about 1/3″ thick) to slice it. I then diced it. This method provides a burst of spicy soppressata flavor which really complements the sweet fig and creamy chèvre. It’s a winner!
Basil pesto provides the base for this pizza. I also made it with the remaining sage pesto from my Pumpkin Barley Risotto. Both worked well, but I think we preferred the basil to the sage. Of course homemade is delicious, but quite honestly, the recipe will not suffer in the least if you substitute a good quality prepared pesto. I have learned over the years that one key to really good Italian cooking is the quality of your ingredients. The first ingredient in a prepared pesto should be extra virgin olive oil, followed by basil, pignolias (pine nuts or pinions), and pecorino romano or parmesan cheese. I looked at the ingredients lists on several jars while working on this recipe, and found 2 that listed safflower oil as the first ingredient. Yuck! 😛
Lastly, making your own pizza dough “makes” the pizza. (Please don’t substitute a ready-made crust. If you need to skip this step, buy ready-made dough, and bake it with the pizza.) This Pizza Dough Recipe hit just the right balance of crispy bottom, tender and soft interior, and delicious flavor. I did need to work quite a bit of additional flour into the prepared dough to roll it out on my pizza stone. This recipe yields 2 medium-sized crusts that serve 2 to 3 people. You can always refrigerate or freeze half the dough for another meal. The addition of an arugula salad lightly dressed with a sherry vinaigrette makes this a one-dish meal that you’re sure to enjoy. Fresh Fig & Soppressata Pizza… your own bit of autumnal sunshine!
Luscious fresh figs, spicy soppressata, and creamy chevre are topped with a tangy salad of peppery arugula in this stand-alone pizza recipe!
15 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- pizza dough *
- 2-3 tablespoons pesto*
- 5-6 fresh figs, sliced
- 3 ounces soppressata, cubed*
- 2 ounces chevre, crumbled*
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper
Preheat grill to very hot (ours was above 500 degrees).
Roll dough as thin as you like it on a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal.*
Spread pizza dough with pesto as though you were buttering bread.
Arrange the sliced figs evenly over the top, followed by the cubed soppressata, and the chevre.
Place on your very hot grill (or oven) rack. Close the lid or door. Do not check your pizza for 5 minutes, as you will lose heat quickly. Depending on your temperature, it may take 8-10 minutes, or 15. Keep an eye on it.
Meanwhile, whisk the sherry vinegar and the olive oil. Toss with the arugula, and generously season with salt and pepper.
When the pizza is done, slice. Mound the arugula salad over top. Enjoy!
* See Notes
Please don't use a prepared crust! If you can't make your dough, there are some good prepared ones in the supermarkets.
As I mentioned in the post, a commercially prepared pesto is fine. There are some really good ones out there including Alessi and DeLallo. Read the label!
Soppressata is delicious, but you can use hard salami, prosciutto, even pancetta...
I try to remember to stick my chevre in the freezer for about 30 minutes before I need to "crumble" it. It's a very soft cheese, and the colder it is, the easier it is to break into bits.
Sherry vinegar is so lovely, and worth the expense. A little goes a long way. If you don't have it, substitute a white wine vinegar, a white vermouth vinegar, or an apple cider vinegar. Balsamic would not be my preferred choice.
I didn't include macro nutrients on this recipe. The serving size is so variable due to the nature of making a pizza. Just remember, it's a splurge. Enjoy it!