Back in the spring, I traveled to Charleston for a food photography workshop. It was an amazing trip on many levels, not the least of which was the food. For our going away dinner on the final evening, we had a pizza night. But not just any pizza night, of course. All of the topping combinations were unique and fantastic. I loved all of the flavors I tried but this is the one that has stuck in my mind. I knew I needed to recreate this at home.
It took me a few tries to get the technique right, but this was worth the wait. I normally roast grape or cherry tomatoes and add them to things like it’s my job. While those are a perfectly acceptable substitute here, I love the look of the roasted sliced tomatoes. I know this isn’t peak tomato season for most people but I just brought in the last few stragglers from my garden and hopefully some in warmer locales are still enjoying theirs. The lovely thing about roasting is that it brings out the best in even a mediocre tomato. This is my first time putting kale on a pizza, and I have to say I love it. Since kale is typically one of the tougher greens, it stands up well to the high heat of the oven and still has just a bit of chew in the finished product. Just in case there is anyone out there who thinks they don’t like kale, have them try this. I’m thinking they’ll be converted. Really…mix just about anything with bread, cheese and spice-infused oil and it’s a winner. How could they resist?
For the tomatoes:
4-5 medium tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pizza:
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 cups kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 ball pizza dough
2 oz. mozzarella, shredded*
3-4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
To roast the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 300˚ F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Slice the tomatoes into about ½-inch thick slices. Lay the slices in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 50-60 minutes, carefully flipping the slices halfway through baking, until roasted and slightly browned. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate lined with paper towels, layering if needed. Refrigerate at least a few hours to drain excess liquid from the tomatoes.
In a small skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Warm over low heat for about 10-15 minutes to infuse the oil with the flavors of the spices. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the leaves are wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the pizza, heat the oven to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round. Lightly brush the dough with the garlic-red pepper oil. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the dough. Layer with the wilted kale, roasted tomato slices, and feta.
Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 11-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
*For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.