I don't like pizza. Or, at least, I didn't like pizza for most of the past 29 years. I attribute it to a condition I suffered for most of my youth...
Every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, before I left home my mother made us pizza from scratch. On these nights we were permitted absence from the kitchen table at dinner time - free to enjoy our pizza-pie in the comfort of our respective spaces. That is, being the oh-so-independent adolecents we were, my younger brother and I hid in our bedrooms engrossing ourselves in the Magical World of Disney while Mom and Dad watched the 6:00 evening news.
Pizza. T.V. The solace of my own private quarters... A teenagers fantasy manifested... Not for me. While most young people would relish in their pseudo-privacy, I spent my time delicately picking the toppings off my pizza, devouring them and then stealthily sneaking down the hall, past the living room (and the parents, mind you) and into the kitchen - crusts in hand - where I did one of two things:
- I silently slipped the crusts to our beloved cockerspaniel, who was always eager to finish what we didn't.
- I quickly shoved them as far down the garbage as my (then) lanky arm could reach, careful to cover any evidence of my crime.
Both motions had the same objective: I didn't want Mom to know I hadn't eaten them; I didn't want to make her feel bad. Not that the crust was bad! It was fantastic! Doughy, delicious and savoury! I just lacked interest in the doughy-delicious-savoury goodness. I was unable, at the time, to express this however.
I carried this facade on for years... Years.
And then reprieve! I left home. However, years of sneaking and stuffing left my appetite for the 'za, well... unappetized.
Thick crusts, droopy toppings and semi-flavorful wheels taunted me for years into my 20's. Every time I helped someone move was a near pizza-intake disaster. That is until... Prima Strada Pizzeria! (Thank YOU Sara B!).
As members of the Island Chef's Collaborative, Prima Strada serves gourmet, authentic italian pizza in a casual but sexy atmosphere, utilizing and supporting local ingredients. Some of their suppliers include Fairburn Farm (the only ruminant herd in North America tested for BSE guaranteeing the health of the Canadian born water buffalo, whose diet is grass and hay grown at Fairburn where no herbicides or pesticides have been sprayed in the 120 year history of the farm) who work in conjunction with Natural Pastures for local mozzarella di bufala, and Choux Chouc Charcuterie who provides the restaurant with pepperoni. Moreover, stressing the "authenticism" of italian cuisine, they use Caputo '00' flour from Naples in the open kitchen for their thin, decadent crusts, while making their own Sausage, Salumi, and desserts. Friendly to both meat eaters and veggie eaters alike, Prima Strada has changed the way I think about Pizza. I highly recommend the Margherita and Funghi pizzas paired with the Fresca Insalate!
And in case the authentic, fresh, and sustainable sheer culinary genious doesn't convince you, their wine list is both affordable and refreshingly delightful - including both local B.C. wines and not-so-local Italian ones; While their beer list incorporates some of the best of the island, in addition to classic Italian brews. If beer and wine aren't your thing though don't worry... There are plenty of drinks both alcoholic and non that can wet your whistle, including Cider from island based Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, Victoria Gin, and tea from Silk Road, a Victoria based company that is community minded and actively supports many charitable, cultural and non-profit organisations, such as the Victoria Women's Transition House, the Inter-Cultural Association and the Victoria Art Gallery.
So it's true - I love pizza. And in my new-found love of gourmet pizza I bring you the following:
|(My apologies for providing only a before shot - I gobbled it before I remembered to take an after shot. Hey, I'm new at this!).|
Not only is it fantastically delicious, but it is nearly entirely local and organic! The inspiration for this pizza came from the box that was delivered to our back door via the Saanich Organics (who will be mentioned further in a later blog - coming soon!) box program. This past week, EVERYTHING in the box was purple! It really challenged me to think about and cook items I never would have otherwise, helping to create gastonomic delicacies - like purple pizza!
1 Pizza Base (recipe to follow).
1 Fresh Ball of Buffalo Mozzarella (Cow is fine if you can't find it).
1 Purple Eggplant, diced.
1 Purple Pepper, diced.
1 Small Red Onion, diced.
1 Zucchinni, sliced.
2 Tbsp of Your Favorite Tomato Based Sauce.
8 Fresh Garden Picked Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters (depending on size).
2 - 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped.
Fresh Purple Basil Leaves (lots of em! YUM!).
1-- 2 Tsp Fresh Italian Herbs (Oregano, Thyme, Etc...).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Fresh Cracked Sea Salt & Pepper for seasoning.
What to Do:
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and sautee till tender and beginning to caramelize.
Meanwhile, toss the eggplant, purple pepper and zucchinni with the garlic and some more oil, adding a touch of balsamic and some of your mixed herbs. Add to the pan briefly (flash!) to heat through to start the cooking process.
Spread your sauce over your crust very thinly, season with the rest of your mixed herbs. Sprinkle your veggies evenly across the base.
Tear your mozza and distribute evenly (it will not result in cheese everywhere! It's more like an accent of deliciousness!). Top with tomatoes.
Give the pizza a good drizzle of olive oil and a grinding of pepper and salt before sending it into the cooker.
Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes (depending on how crispy you like your crust), or until your cheese is melted, gooey and golden.
Decorate with lots of fresh basil and a little more olive oil.
Cut and Serve!
I AM a flying purple
people pizza eater!