Pie From the Oven (with salad)

The first time I pulled this pizza from the oven, mid-bake, the gorgonzola had melted into bubbles and the puffed dough had turned a golden hue. The smell, sharp and pungent, wafted around my kitchen like some kind of olfactory nymph.

As I stared at the bubbling crust and inhaled the baked cheese I thought: if you could pull sex from the oven, this is what it would look and smell like.

So before I’d even finished baking the first pie, I knew I’d have to make another one and take pictures so you could see just what I’m talking about. I guess there’s a new phone that can kiss you, but what I want is a computer that transmits smell. A scratch and sniff computer. The smell, salty and aromatic, like heavy cream and like the blue cheese we used to dip our fries in at Bob’s Big Boy. And that was before the addition of the figs.

I always jump at the fleeting fig season. I adore the end of summer fruit, the tender purple skin of the turkey variety, the little seeds surrounded by the fleshy, stringy inside. After eating four baskets of them straight, I decided I needed to do something else with them. Pizza.

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit. The call for two cups of cheese sounds over-indulgent, but I can see now that after it melted that I really should have used all two cups. But hey, you’re going to make this twice, right, so try a little bit of cheese and then the whole amount; tell me what you think. (Note: after round two, I say use the whole damn block. It looks like a ton, but oh! OH! And buy the best gorgonzola  you can afford–the bluer and stinkier, the better.)

You’ll have to restrain yourself in every step of this recipe: when you slice the figs, when you add the balslamic, when the pizza comes out in round one in a come hither way, and finally, when the whole pizza come out, figs steaming and the pie pulsing with fragrance. I suggest cracking a beer to buy your time to the cool down. It’s worth every second of the wait.


Pizza with Figs, Gorgonzola and Arugula

From Bon Appetite

  • Cornmeal (for sprinkling)
  • 1 1-pound package TJ’s pizza dough
  • 2 cups (generous) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 6 small fresh figs, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups arugula


  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle large rimless baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Roll out dough on floured work surface to 12×10-inch rectangle; transfer to prepared sheet. Sprinkle Gorgonzola over dough. Sprinkle with pepper. Place figs in medium bowl; drizzle 1 tablespoon vinegar over. Set aside.
  • Bake pizza until crust is golden brown on bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Arrange fig slices atop cheese. Bake until figs are just heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer pizza to cutting board. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and oil in large bowl; add arugula. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Mound salad atop pizza. Cut into pieces and serve.

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