Summer veggie pizza matches well with affordable pinot blanc
Girasole Vineyards, 2020 Mendocino County Pinot Blanc ($15), our Wine of the Week, is like one of those friends you can take anywhere. It is versatile, accepting, pleasing and accessible. In the glass, it is pretty and pale.
As you bring the glass toward your mouth, you’ll notice aromas of citrus, honeysuckle and honeydew melon. On the palate, flavors suggest tropical fruit, but in a subtle way, with plenty of minerality weaving between fruit flavors like white peach, Gravenstein apple and sweet orange zest.
The wine pairs beautifully with summer fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and zucchini. Delicate pasta sauces, such as fresh tomato-butter sauce tossed with fettuccine, are ideal companions, as is watermelon, feta cheese and pine nut salad, an increasingly popular summer dish.
As an afternoon aperitif, you’ll enjoy the wine with tangy deviled eggs with green peppercorn mustard, Marcona almonds, green olives and salumi such as soppressata, ingredients that highlight the wine’s endearing mineral qualities.
The wine also can take a bit of spicy heat without turning at all bitter, which means you can enjoy it with bün, Vietnamese noodle salads, mild to medium Thai green curries and larb made with fish or shellfish.
For today’s pairing, I’m bringing back an old favorite which I’ve revised a bit to further its resonance with the wine. Zucchini is excellent right now, crisper than it will be in a few weeks. Please note that this is not a standard American pizza — there is no tomato sauce or pizza sauce and the zucchini is grated, not sliced. It is my all-time favorite pizza and it makes this lovely, affordable wine soar.
Zucchini Pizza with Garlic, Avocado and Lemon
Serves 4 to 6
1 pizza dough (see Note below)
Coarse-ground cornmeal or polenta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 serrano, stemmed, seeded and minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 small-medium (each about 5 to 6 inches long) zucchini, grated on the large blade of a box grater
Black pepper in a mill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 ounces cheese, such as St. George, Vella Mezzo Secco, white cheddar or similar cheese, grated
1 firm-ripe Haas avocado
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
First, prepare the pizza dough according to its recipe or, if commercial, its instructions.
Set a pizza stone or baking tiles in the center of the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the surface of a baker’s paddle or the bottom of a sheet pan generously with cornmeal or polenta. Use your hands to slowly stretch the dough into a fairly thin, roundish disk and lightly set it on top of the polenta.
Drizzle the olive oil over the dough and scatter half the serrano and half the garlic over it.
Put the zucchini and the remaining serrano and garlic into a bowl and toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper and scatter over the pizza dough. Drizzle with the lemon juice and spread the cheese on top.
Transfer the pizza from the paddle to the baking stone or tile and cook until the crust is golden brown around the edges and the cheese is hot and bubbly, about 13 minutes, or a little longer depending on the thickness of the dough.
Transfer the pizza to a work surface and let it rest for about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the avocado in half lengthwise, remove the pit and cut the avocado into lengthwise slices. Use a soup spoon to scoop out the flesh; to do so, insert the spoon as close as possible to the skin of the avocado, near the top, and then ease the spoon downward to loosen the flesh.
Cut the pizza into eight wedges and top each wedge with slices of avocado. Season the avocado with salt and pepper, scatter some of the cilantro on each slice and enjoy right away, with a lemon wedge alongside for squeezing over the entire slice.
Note: If you make pizza dough at home, use your preferred recipe. For my recipe, visit “Eat This Now” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can find commercial pizza dough at Oliver’s Markets in the prepared foods section.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at email@example.com.