This particular recipe that I am sharing today is long overdue. I have made it so many times and every time I get a terrible picture. I was determined with the time change to get a good one. I love me some BLTs so when I saw this pizza, I just had to make it. You start off with a crust made especially to be a vehicle for pizza. Top it with some greens, tomato, red onion, bacon, & feta cheese all dressed up in a maple-bacon vinaigrette and you got yourself a delectable meal. The vinaigrette reminded me of Wilted Lettuce (swoon), and the feta stands in the place of traditional mayo on a BLT sandwich.
The process of making your own dough may seem daunting to some, but it is one of the easier doughs that I have made. Since it is just Blair & I, I can make 2 pizzas for dinner one week and freeze the other 2 for a later date. If you are in a pinch for time, I have also used naan to serve as the vehicle for the BLT salad. Any similar flatbread will work, just make sure you crisp it in the oven. The only complaint about this pizza that Blair has is that it is hard to eat. So he suggested cutting the crust into slices first, then topping it with the mixed salad. We have yet to try it, but it may make things a little easier. If you want to get really crazy, make this pizza into a BLAT by adding some sliced avocado on top, it takes it to a whole new level.
Yield: 4 individual pizzas
For the crust:
1 cup warm water (105-115˚ F)
3¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1¼ tsp. honey
2 2/3-3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. semolina flour (optional)
¾ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. coarse cornmeal
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
For the maple bacon vinaigrette:
1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. bacon drippings
2½ tsp. maple syrup
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the salad topping:
4 cups green leaf lettuce or mixed greens
1 tomato, seeded and diced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (drippings from cooking reserved for dressing)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
sliced avocado (optional)
What you’ll do:
To make the crust, combine the water, yeast, olive oil, honey, and 2 2/3 cups of the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the semolina flour (if using), salt, and red pepper flakes; mix on low speed until combined. Add in ½ cup more of the flour and mix until a soft dough comes together. Mix on low speed about 5 minutes to knead. Add additional flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time as needed until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Sprinkle the sheets with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. (You can also use a baking stone, preheating it with the oven – no need to oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal just before adding the crusts.) Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, transfer to a work surface, cover with a damp towel and let rest 10-12 minutes. Use immediately* or cover with plastic wrap, freeze for 30 minutes and then refrigerate up to 3 hours.
Just before shaping and baking the dough, cook the bacon for the salad topping in a large skillet until crisp. Reserve the drippings for the vinaigrette. With a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough ball into an 8-inch circle. Brush each dough round lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet or stone and bake until browned and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.
While the crusts are baking, make the maple bacon vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
To make the topping mixture, combine the lettuce or greens, tomato and sliced onion in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Top with ¼ cup of the dressing mixture and toss gently to coat the salad well. Add the bacon and feta to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Heap some of the salad mixture on top of each of the warm pizza crusts and serve immediately.
*Note – At this point the dough balls can also be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for later use. Thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before use.