There comes a time in life, a pivotal moment really, when your world shifts and everything you once thought you once knew about food gets turned on its head, and you are at a loss for words. For me, this was the day I had salad on pizza. What started out as a innocent little lunch date at a small Italian eatery in Orlando led to my now full-blown addiction to this pizza. The simplicity is surprising, yet the flavor combination is unreal.
If you've never tried prosciutto and arugula together, it's worth a trip to the store to make it happen. I debated on whether or not to write about this dish since I know these ingredients may not line the grocery store shelves for everyone living outside a metropolitan area. However, even in our tiny Midwestern town of 4,000, occasionally the stars will align and I can find both prosciutto and arugula locally. The trick is to put the prosciutto on top of the dough immediately after baking the pizza dough. This will warm the prosciutto just enough to bring out the flavor without cooking it (prosciutto is cured and will get a little too salty and chewy if cooked - trust me, I've tried it both ways).
I love this pizza on it's own, but it would be fantastic as a starter too. I recommend using a pizza stone on an outside grill set to high heat, but a greased metal sheet pan in the oven will work too. The grill just gets hotter than an oven, it doesn't turn your house into a sauna, and the crust gets crispy and the toppings hardly ever burn since the heat is coming up from the bottom.
I've made this pizza several times in the past couple months and just can't get enough. The peppery arugula, the salty prosciutto, the sweet mozzarella, the acidic tomatoes... it all just works. It's perfect for enjoying outdoors with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc.
Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
Yield: 1 medium, thin-crust pizza
Special Equipment Needed:
These are actually optional but really create a superior crust. You can also use the pizza stone in your oven set to about 450 F. If you don't own a pizza stone, just use a greased metal sheet pan and your oven (see tips below).
1/2 batch of this pizza dough (or store-bought dough - use a dough ball about the size of a grapefruit)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup shredded mozzarella
4 oz prosciutto, sliced very thin
3-4 cups arugula leaves
half a lemon
10-15 cherry tomatoes
small wedge of Parmesan
- Place the pizza stone on the grill rack and preheat to medium high heat or about 450 F.
- Flour your counters liberally, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 14" in diameter and about 1/4" thick.
- Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or metal sheet pan with no edges sprinkled with cornmeal or flour (see tips).
- Brush the top side of the dough with olive oil, including edges.
- Thinly slice the garlic cloves and place on the dough.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the dough.
- Slide the dough onto the pizza stone to cook. Close the lid!
- Check every 2 minutes until it's done (on the grill it takes about 3-5 minutes). The bottom will be crispy and brown (a few black spots are okay), the cheese will be melted, and the top edges will start to turn brown.
- Slide the pizza off and turn off the grill.
- Immediately top the pizza with the slices of prosciutto. The heat from the pizza will warm the prosciutto slightly.
- In a medium sized bowl, toss the arugula with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice from half a lemon. Spread out on top of the prosciutto.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes and disperse on the pizza.
- Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler).
- I don't have a pizza peel, so I used an extra large metal sheet pan without edges to use as a pizza peel. This made it easy to slide the pizza off the pan and directly onto my pizza stone. The bottom of a metal sheet pan works well too.
- If you don't own a pizza stone, just place the rolled-out pizza dough on a greased metal sheet pan, and bake it in the oven at about 450 F. It will probably take about 8-12 minutes, but be sure to keep an eye on it.