Celebrating citrus season with a homemade fragrant and zesty lemon pizza turns out to be the ultimate treat
The start of the year is not only the time when we say goodbye to sumptuous meals and lots of little sweet treats over the day. It’s also the time to pay tribute to citrus fruits. With the citrus harvest in full force until around early March, there is currently such an abundance of citrus fruits on offer it would be surely a shame not to use them as excessively as you can in the kitchen. Especially because citrus fruits are some the most versatile fruits in the kitchen.
Believe it or not, you can even top your pizza with citrus fruits.
The discussion what you can actually put on your pizza is as old as pizza itself. Pizza Hawaii is perhaps the perfect example. Is it OK to put ananas on your pizza or is it the ultimate no-go? To my understanding, this question has never been resolved. It’s either, ‘Are you completely out of mind?’ or ‘Of course you can, it’s sooooo delicious’.
If you wonder what toppings are allowed, looking back at the origins of pizza, gives you a hint.
The first authentic Italian pizza is thought to be the classic Margherita, hailing from Naples. It takes its name from Queen Margherita, consort of King Umberto I of Italy. The queen, who was served an assortment of pizza and particularly loved the one topped with white cheese, red tomato sauce and basil. Thus, what was formerly served as pizza mozzarella became the famous Pizza Margherita.
Yet, prior to pizza flatbreads were a common food in ancient times across the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian territories and they were consumed with all sorts of different toppings.
Thus, to settle the question once and for all (at least for myself): Yes, you can actually put anything on top of your pizza.
Which bring me back to citrus fruits. This lemon-zucchini pizza is a tweak on a pizza I had in Italy many years ago, simply topped with mozzarella cheese and lemon from the Amalfi Coast.
If you have ever been to this beautiful spot, you know the Amalfi Coast is famous for its abundance of lemon trees. In particular, the unique Sfusato Amalfitano, a large and fragrant variety with its slightly sweeter and zesty flavour.
If you can get the delicious Amalfi lemon, I highly recommend using this variety. However, don’t worry too much if you can’t. This delicious, citrusy pizza will work perfectly well with any other variety too.
This delicious lemon-zucchini pizza can be enjoyed either as lunch or dinner, but also makes for a fun appetizer. And it’s perfect to let you dream of sunnier places or to welcome the first warmer spring days (in a while at least).
Recipe: Lemon-Zucchini Pizza With Ricotta And Smoked Salmon
Serves 2 large or 4 small pizzas
For the pizza dough:
225 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry (instant) yeast
60 ml warm milk
60 ml warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt
For the topping:
120 g shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, thinly slices
80 g ricotta
10-12 basil leaves
optional: smoked salmon
For the pizza dough, mix the flour with dry yeast and salt. Add olive oil, warm milk and water and knead until obtaining a smooth and elastic dough, for around 10 minutes. If the dough is still too dry, add more water.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl greased with olive oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise for about two hours, until it has doubled in size.
When ready, knead the dough again to deflate.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
For the pizza dough into two large or four smaller circles either using your hands or a rolling pin.
Transfer to a baking pan greased with olive oil. Brush the dough with more olive oil, including the edges. Leaving the edges free, top with mozzarella cheese, then add zucchini and lemon slices. Drizzle ricotta cheese on top and add half of the basil leaves.
Bake for 12-15 minutes on the upper oven rail until the mozzarella has melted and the edges have turned golden-brown.
Take out of the oven and top with the remaining fresh basil leaves and if desired with slices of smoked salmon.