The best thing about summer produce is that EVERYTHING is delicious.
The local corn from Kroger? Excellent! The peaches from the office fruit bowl? Fresh!
The tomatoes from the farmer’s market? Outstanding!
You can’t go wrong with summer produce.
Which is why tonight’s dinner is going to be delicious. Promise.
Fresh green pesto, farmer’s market tomatoes and zucchini (so fresh! so crunchy!), delicate Gruyere cheese and a few baby shrimp all slathered on a rustic whole wheat pizza crust.
Let’s talk pesto: Pesto is traditionally a basil, garlic and olive oil spread. Pesto to me is usually “whatever semi-wilty greens I have that need to be blended to make something delectable to spread on bread”. Tonight’s pesto is cilantro, parsley and green onion. But you can pesto (yes, its a verb) other sturdy greens: basil, baby spinach, arugula, kale or even collard greens.
And for the pizza. Ah homemade pizza. I know you. I’ve loved you. I have even tried cooking you on a pizza stone. Oh the STONE: One pizza came out doughy, the next one burned and the third involved an unfortunate incident where half the dough ended up on the stone and the other half on the floor. The stone and I? Not cool. I finally threw the pizza stone in the trash can with such a satisfying crash I almost wish I had another one to do the same with.
Ahem…..if you have a pizza stone, by all means, use it! (and you have my utmost respect). For everyone else, a baking sheet and oven work just fine!
Shrimp, Tomato & Zucchini Pizza with Herb Pesto
1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 small bunch parlsey, stems removed
1 green onion, diced, green & white parts
1 tbs pine nuts
2 tbs Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
zest of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 whole wheat dough ball (or make your own)
1-2 tbs AP flour for rolling
10oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
8oz Shrimp (de-veined, tails off)*
4-5 baby zucchini or 1 medium zucchini, cleaned and sliced into rounds or half-moons
5 mini heirloom tomatoes or 1 large heirloom, sliced into rounds or half-moons
Extra cilantro and lemon juice for serving
Sea Salt, Black pepper
*To make this super easy, I used frozen (thawed) pre-cooked shrimp. You can also lightly saute your fresh shrimp in a little olive oil until just opaque if you prefer.
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Make pesto: In a food processor; combine all ingredients except oil. Sprinkle in some black pepper (but hold off on the salt until you see how salty the cheese makes the pesto).
Whir until a paste forms.
Slowly stream in the oil until pesto comes together. I prefer my pesto on the drier side, so I only used 2 tbs of oil, you may want to use 3 or even 4 tbs, up to you!
Taste here, add salt or pepper as needed. Set aside.
For the pizza:Sliced tomatoes, zucchini, tails-off (cooked) shrimp, lemon zest, pesto and Salt and Pepper (un-pictured Gruyere).
Preparing the dough:
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or spray with olive oil. Flouring your hands/rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/2″ even thickness. Using the back of a spoon, spread your homemade pesto evenly over entire pizza (don’t forget the corners!)
Sprinkle cheese evenly over entire pizza. Next layer on zucchini, tomatoes and shrimp.
You can be all nerdy like me, and make rows of each; or you can simply toss all your toppings on there. Either way, it will be delicious.
To serve, sprinkle with more cilantro and lemon juice; it gives it that extra pop of flavor.
Speaking of lemon, I want to share my lemon trick for getting zest and juice out easily:
Using a hand-held microplane, zest lemon to desired amount. Flip the plane over (to the non-rough side) and squeeze the lemon. Juice goes through the plane, seeds stay on it. Genius! (in my book)