I have been really excited for my March theme. I’ve mentioned before that I have fallen in love with Pinterest. It really has been life-changing. In fact, I’m going to name my first-born child after Pinterest. If it’s a girl I’ll name her Pin-elope and if it’s a boy he’ll be named Pin-eus. Don’t tell my husband. Anyway, I’ve never ventured down the food and craft avenue on my blog, but I’ve decided that this month I will. It is Pinterest Month!
I have to give a little background info before I begin. Last summer, every time we went to my in-law’s house my husband’s mom loaded us up with produce from her garden. It was amazing. One time we were given fresh basil, tomatoes, and a recipe for Margharita pizza.
It started with a pretty basic pizza dough recipe, but for some reason, I haven’t had much luck with it. I have tried and loved this pizza dough recipe I found on Pinterest (of course). I’m sure my mother-in-law’s dough recipe didn’t turn out simply because of my pizza dough inexperience. I’ve become much more experienced with the rising dough family since, but I’m still reluctant to stray from the Pinterest recipe. If it works beautifully, why fix it?
Anyway, here is the rest of the Margharita pizza recipe she gave me:
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp oregano
Diced fresh tomatoes (I suppose drained canned might work… but I’ve never tried)
Sliced or grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh or dried basil (fresh is infinitely better, but dried works just fine)
Instructions: Crush garlic into oil, then add oregano. If you’re like me and never keep garlic on hand, garlic powder works the same–it’s 1/8 tsp per clove. So with this recipe it’s 3/8 tsp garlic. Do what works for you. The nice thing about the garlic powder is you don’t have to crush it. You just stir it in along with the oregano. You then spread this oil mixture on top of your rolled out and shaped pizza dough and top with cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Of course, you can put the toppings on in any order. Some folks prefer the cheese on top, while others like it on the bottom. Or you can get the best of both worlds and put some on top and bottom. Do what you like. Then follow your pizza crust’s instructions as to how long and how hot to bake it.
This leads us to the main topic of my post. After we make the pizza, it is almost inevitable that we’ll have some oil mixture and other toppings left over. But there is no leftover pizza dough. After going through the ordeal of making homemade pizza dough (which isn’t that hard, but I always feel like I ran a marathon afterwards) I’m usually in the mood for cooking something simple. Super simple.
Now, I come from a family that thrives on cheese sandwiches. To mix things up, we have two varieties–the open face and the closed face. Closed face is just a normal cheese sandwich (I think ‘closed face’ is a term solely used by my immediate family). Open face is a slice of bread topped with cheese, then broiled in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty. When I considered my leftover toppings, it seemed as though I could make an mock-margharita open face cheese sandwich. We’ve made it frequently ever since and have affectionately dubbed it Margharita Toast. I’ve gotten in the habit of always having some of the oil mixture on hand even when I’m not planning on making pizza anytime soon.
It looks good, right? It is good. And so fast. Almost ridiculously fast. Faster than making a grilled cheese sandwich (closed face). I’ll be honest–it’s not as good as the real margharita pizza. But considering how long (or short) it takes to make it, it’s pretty dang good.
To start, put a slice (or two) of bread on a pan or cookie sheet–just whatever fits best. Then spread some of the above oil mixture on the slice of bread. Put a pretty good amount. I keep my oil mixture in the fridge simply because it makes it a nice consistency to spread with a butter knife. Room temperature oil mixture you have to use a spoon, and depending on how spongey your bread is, it might just soak it up. Soggy bread just seems ick to me. The refrigerated oil stays on top, which just logistically seems better. But try it different ways to see what you like best.
Then top with your cheese, tomatoes, and basil. As you can see, I’m a cheese on bottom person. My husband sprinkles a little more on top at this point. I used dried basil (which is why it’s so tiny), but if you use fresh go ahead and put whole leaves on that puppy. Don’t go to the trouble of trying to cut the leaves up all tiny. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your Margy Toast, pop it into the top rack on the oven and turn it to broil. This way (as opposed to letting it preheat a bit) the cheese is starting to melt as the oven warms up. Otherwise the crusts brown up before the cheese melts. And I like evenly melted cheese and non-burned crusts. It’s really no use setting a timer–you’ll burn it if you do. The best thing to do is to check on it periodically. When the cheese is looking melty and the crusts are looking crispy, pull it out. It only takes a couple minutes, so watch it closely.
Now, if you want to double your pleasure, there’s a slightly more time-consuming way to cook it. My biggest problem with the above super quick broiling method is that while the top gets nice and warm and melty, the bottom is a little lack-luster. There’s no crispiness to it. Or warmness, really. It’s just plain bread with a nice top. Thus, if you’ve got the time, you can turn the oven to pizza cooking temperature (450ish degrees) and let it cook for a little while to give the bottom a little umph, and THEN switch it to broil to put some crisp on top. If you do it this way, I’d recommend spraying a bit of cooking spray on the pan so it doesn’t stick. I don’t really know how long to cook it for. I’ve only done it like this a couple times, and I’ve never really kept track. I usually cook it until I’m tired of cooking it.
And that, my friends, is the Margharita Toast.