One night I had an idea. Tapenade pizza. Why not? My idea was inspired by a tapenade bruschetta prepared at a demonstration cooking class I took a while back. If you can make tapenade bruschetta, then why not tapenade pizza?? I had to give it a try. If you haven't figured this out about me already, I like to try new things with food.
The tapenade bruschetta that inspired me was a slice of baguette topped with tapenade, then sprinkled with some mozzarella or goat cheese, and topped with a piece of sundried tomato and chopped fresh basil. So ... hmmmmmm ... I thought, what combination of items would make the best pizza? Since I wasn't sure, I decided to make this pizza a total experiment by testing four different combinations on the one pie.
My test items of choice - fresh grape tomatoes vs. sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese vs. a combination of mozzarella and feta together. Do you have a prediction about what combo wins the taste test??
I started by getting my dough ready, preparing my tapenade, and spreading a good layer of tapenade all over the dough as my "sauce." (Click here to read more about pizza dough. Click here to read a full post about preparing homemade tapenade.)
Now, to start my "test conditions" ... what would be better, grape tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes? To find out, I covered half the pizza with julienned sun-dried tomatoes and the other half with halved grape tomatoes. I thought about leaving the grape tomatoes whole, but then, with visions of hot tomato inards squirting inside my mouth when I bit into them, I decided halved would probably be safer.
|1/2 & 1/2|
Next, I covered half the pizza with shredded mozzarella and left the remaining half with just feta. I went "the other way" from what I did with the tomatoes, so I ended with four different combinations, like this:
|1/2 & 1/2 the other way|
Then I popped it in the oven to get it ready for it's taste-testing. Do you have your prediction of the winner ready??
|Which quarter will win??|
It's ready! I prepared a tasting plate for myself and one for Mark, including a small slice of each of the four varieties. We tasted each combination, and without making comments to each other, decided on our favorite. When it came time to share our favorite, amazingly, we matched! So I feel pretty good about the end-result recipe.
So are you ready to find out the winning combination?
It was the fresh grape tomatoes with just feta! Was that what you were thinking? Totally not what I had predicted!! I fully expected the feta and mozzarella together to win, and was shocked that it didn't. The mozzarella just seemed to mask the yummy flavor of the tapenade and the feta. And I kind-of thought the sun-dried tomatoes would win, but again not the case. The moistness of the warm fresh tomatoes was a really nice touch against which the sun-dried tomatoes just didn't stand a chance.
So there you have it ... tapenade pizza topped with feta and grape tomatoes. Fabulous.
Pizza dough (homemade or store-bought dough ball; click here to read more about pizza dough)
Tapenade (make your own - see recipe below, or used jarred if you'd like)1 (8 oz.) package feta cheese crumbles
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Prepare tapenade. Roll pizza dough out to desired size; place on preheated pizza stone or baking sheet. Spread a layer of tapenade over the crust for sauce. Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles, then top with grape tomato halves. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15-25 minutes, or until crust is cooked through.
1 (6.25 oz) jar pitted country mix olives
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives
A couple spoonfuls of pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives
1/2 of a 4 oz jar capers
Zest of 1 lemon
3 T. fresh or dried parsley
Drain olives and capers; place in the bowl of a food processor. Add lemon zest and parsley; process a few seconds to chop and blend ingredients together. Drizzle in olive oil, pulsing occasionally, until tapenade reaches your desired consistency. It should be moist, but not runny.
- You can use any combination of olives you like ... all green, all black, 1/2 & 1/2, the mix I use - whatever you like!
- Capers control the saltiness, so adjust to taste.