Cheese pizzas with herb salad and lemon dressing

Check out new ways of using citrus with Gwendolyn Richards' cookbook, Pucker.

Gwendolyn Richards recipe

Citrus. Most of us just use its juice for drinks or in marinades, or we'll put some zest in baked good, but cookbook author Gwendolyn Richards shows us how to use all kinds citrus in over 100 recipes in Pucker. This pizza and salad recipe is just one example of how you can sneak more lemon into your food.

"Hot bread and melty cheese, a swipe of garlic- and lemon-flavoured oil, topped with a salad permeated with fresh herbs and a tangy lemon dressing: that pretty much hits all the high notes for me. Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has a pizza recipe that calls for arugula and lemon vinaigrette, which I’ve made a few times and enjoyed. But when I had neither goat cheese nor fontina nor arugula, I began to make my own amended version. I like to use spring mix salad (also known as mesclun or baby greens) and add a few handfuls of herbs for a bright, fresh flavour. There are prepackaged versions of this, which is handy, but it’s equally easy to make your own." - Gwendolyn Richards

After making this recipe, you'll ask yourself why the hell you've never had lemon dressing with your pizza before. It is addictive.

PIzza dough

1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and sugar and stir gently once or twice. Let the yeast bloom until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add the flour to the bowl and, using the paddle attachment, begin to mix together until no dry patches of flour remain. Add half the olive oil and the salt and mix for another minute. Switch to a dough hook, turn the mixer onto medium speed and let it knead the dough until it is shiny and smooth, about 7 minutes. (If the dough seems too wet and tacky, add up to another 1/4 cup of flour, about a tablespoon [15 mL] at a time.)

Add the remaining tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil to a large bowl, rubbing it up and down the side with your fingertips. Using your oiled fingers, transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Lemon-garlic oil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 peel of a lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

While the dough is rising, prepare the lemon-garlic oil. In a small pan set over medium-low heat, add the oil, lemon peel and sliced garlic.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic has softened and is barely golden and the peel has started to go translucent. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Lemon dressing

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a jar with a lid or in a small bowl.

Shake or whisk until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then add the oil and shake or whisk again until emulsified.

Pizza toppings and assembly

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, pulled into strands
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
3 1/2 cups spring mix salad
1/2 cup fresh herbs, (cilantro, dill, parsley, whatever you prefer or have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and set each piece on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Using your fingers, stretch the dough into a circle or, my preference, a rustic oblong shape. Brush each piece of dough all over with the infused oil (see note). Scatter half the strands of shredded mozzarella over each pizza, leaving some gaps between the pieces. (You don’t want the entire pizza covered; the mozzarella will spread.) Sprinkle the Parmesan on. Let the pizzas rest for several minutes, until they’ve started to puff up slightly, then put into the oven.

Bake the pizzas until the crusts are golden and the cheese has melted and gone golden in patches, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens and herbs. Toss the salad with a couple of spoonfuls of the vinaigrette, until just lightly dressed, and divide between the 2 pizzas, sprinkling overtop.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6
Prep Time:
1 hour
Cook Time:
15 minutes