Watermelon on pizza? Indeed -- because this surprising dish is all about a late-summer mix: a little hot, a little cold, a little over-the-top, a little convenience, all with minimal fuss.
It's best to use a thin, pre-baked pizza crust without added cheese or spices -- preferably whole wheat and with lots of crunch, often available at organic and other high-end grocers. For an extra-crisp crust, slip it right off a rimless baking sheet and onto the oven rack, then use tongs to get it back on the baking sheet when partially baked, before the watermelon is added.
Yield: Makes one 12-inch pizza (10 slices)
- 1 12-inch pre-baked pizza crust (one without added cheese or spices)
- 8 ounces brie cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons basil leaves, torn or rolled and cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
- 2 cups chilled, diced seedless red watermelon chunks (about 3/4-inch cubes)
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler or a cheese plane
- Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
Position 2 oven racks: one in the center of the oven and the top one 4 to 5 inches from the broiler heating element. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have ready a large baking sheet.
Place the pizza crust on the baking sheet. Slice the white rind off the top of the brie, then scoop out the soft cheese, spreading it over the crust; leave a 1-inch margin on the edges. Bake on the center oven rack for 5 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and preheat the broiler for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the pizza with the basil, top with the cold watermelon cubes, then use the Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings to cover the watermelon. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the Parmigiano-Reggiano melts and starts to brown. Just before serving, sprinkle the black pepper over the pizza, to taste. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve hot.
Adapted from cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
Tested by Amy Orndorff.
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