It all started last week, when I found myself hounded by a ferocious craving for pizza. A big, juicy, home-made pizza, bursting with flavour. Then, Allison of Spontaneous Tomato mentioned a peach gazpacho in one of our comment exchanges, and that got me thinking about the combination of peaches and tomatoes. Also, I remembered a recipe I saw somewhere for a peach salsa which, I’m imagining, involved something spicy alongside peaches and tomatoes.
As a matter of fact, what I originally intended to make was a vegetarian interpretation of the so-called Hawaiian pizza – substituting mushrooms for ham alongside rich chunks of fresh pineapple. Alas, in my latitude, pineapples aren’t grown locally, and those that are imported are seldom more than an embarrassed embryo of a fruit prematurely ripped out of its nurturing environment. As to cans, I haven’t bought anything canned in months. Also, canned pineapple would be way, way too sweet for my purposes.
And then I had a brainwave: peaches! They’re grown locally and are currently in season, available by the crateful at the market. Their texture and flavour is comparable to that of pineapples. They’re excellent roasted and perfect paired with savoury ingredients. Also, they’re obviously good combined with tomatoes and spicy peppers. As I went over the possible ingredients in my head, my mouth began to water, and my hands began to tingle to get started.
I wouldn’t have blogged about it if it wasn’t a roaring success. If you like the sensation of sweet and sour flavours melting on your tongue, the juicy sweetness of peaches combined with the pungent aroma of mushrooms and the refreshing kick of jalapeños, you’ll love this pizza at first bite. In my head, I’ve started referring to it as Azorean pizza. That’s because the Azores are often referred to as the Hawaii of Europe (even though they’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, you could make the point by arguing that they are basically Portugal), and peaches happen to be grown locally on the islands.
Peach and Jalapeño Pizza
For a truly unforgettable pizza, make the crust one day ahead, letting it ferment at room temperature for between 12 and 24 hours. (I use the excellent recipe from Simply Recipes.) Roll the dough out onto a pizza tin and pre-bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 200°C. Once you take out the dough, spread tomato sauce over it, then top with about 1/2 sliced onion, 1 sliced tomato, and about 4 sliced champignons. Sprinkle with chunks of 1 peach, a couple of chopped jalapeños, and an ample handful of oregano. Optionally, add 1 – 2 grated garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper, cover with grated cheese, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160°C for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the vegetables are soft.