The first time I saw this pizza, I’m pretty sure I drooled.  This meal and the bacon lover’s mac and cheese are responsible for me finally seeing the light and loving bacon the way the rest of the world seems to.  Though I haven’t always been a bacon fanatic, I have always liked BLT sandwiches.  The idea of enjoying all the flavors of the classic sandwich in the form of a pizza is fantastic.  I wish I had thought of it myself.  It just so happened I had an open package of bacon from the butcher shop in the fridge and some lettuce from our produce delivery, so the moment I saw this pizza, I knew it was meant to be.

This turned out to be one of those meals that was so good, I thought about it for days afterwards.  It had all the flavors of a classic BLT sandwich.  Normally my BLTs have only a small spread of mayo added and nothing more.  The feta in this recipe seems to take the place of the mayo here and adds a nice creaminess to the salad mixture.  I froze some dough balls and can’t wait to pull them out and make this meal again…and again, and again.  It’s a keeper.

Ingredients

For the crust:
1 cup warm water (105-115˚ F)
3¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1¼ tsp. honey
2 2/3-3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. semolina flour (optional)
¾ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. coarse cornmeal
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

For the maple bacon vinaigrette:
1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. bacon drippings
2½ tsp. maple syrup
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the salad topping:
4 cups green leaf lettuce or mixed greens
1 tomato, seeded and diced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (drippings from cooking reserved for dressing)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  • 01

    To make the crust, combine the water, yeast, olive oil, honey, and 2 2/3 cups of the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the semolina flour, salt, and red pepper flakes; mix on low speed until combined.  Add in ½ cup more of the flour and mix until a soft dough comes together.  Mix on low speed about 5 minutes to knead.  Add additional flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time as needed until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.

  • 02

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover and let rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

  • 03

    Coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil.  Sprinkle the sheets with cornmeal.  Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  (You can also use a baking stone, preheating it with the oven – no need to oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal just before adding the crusts.)  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, transfer to a work surface, cover with a damp towel and let rest 10-12 minutes.  Use immediately* or cover with plastic wrap, freeze for 30 minutes and then refrigerate up to 3 hours.

  • 04

    Just before shaping and baking the dough, cook the bacon for the salad topping in a large skillet until crisp.  Reserve the drippings for the vinaigrette.

  • 05

    With a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough ball into an 8-inch circle.  Brush each dough round lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet or stone and bake until browned and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

  • 06

    While the crusts are baking, make the maple bacon vinaigrette.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

  • 07

    To make the topping mixture, combine the lettuce or greens, tomato and sliced onion in a large bowl and toss well to combine.  Top with ¼ cup of the dressing mixture and toss gently to coat the salad well.  Add the bacon and feta to the bowl and toss gently to combine.  Heap some of the salad mixture atop each of the warm pizza crusts and serve immediately.

  • 08

    *Note – At this point the dough balls can also be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for later use.  Thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before use.

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