There is evidence of flatbreads being baked in many ancient cultures, but pizza as we know it nowadays has a much more modern history. Legend has it that the first pizza Margherita was invented in 1890 in honor of Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy. The country had been unified under the same flag for only a few decades, and to honour the queen the pizza that carried her name was made with the same colours of the Italian flag – red, green and white.
The red of the tomato sauce, the white of the mozzarella and the green of fresh basil leaves. It’s one of my favourites, especially when made with buffalo mozzarella, possibly the mozzarella that all pizzas should have. Now, there is another country that has the same colours in their flag as Italy, and that is Mexico. Mexico may not be a renowned grower of basil, but it is proudly represented by another very famous green food: avocado. So I decided to take inspiration from the Mexican flag and create a variation of pizza Margherita with avocado. And fresh tomatoes, because why not.
Pizza with avocado and fresh tomatoes:
- 250 g whole-wheat flour
- 8 g yeast
- 150 ml lukewarm water
- 1/2 tsp cane sugar
- 8 g salt
- 40 ml olive oil
- 250 g buffalo mozzarella
- 1 small avocado
- 4 large cherry tomatoes
- salt and pepper (optional)
First of all, the dough. I decided to make it with whole-wheat flour. Often I blend whole-wheat and regular white flour, but not this time. This time I decided to go 100% whole-wheat. In a large bowl measure the flour. In a glass, combine water (make sure it’s not cold, not too warm), sugar and yeast. Stir until all is melted and combined. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add yeast mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula and slowly incorporate the salt and half of the oil, then start working the dough with your hands. Knead it for some fine minutes, at least 5. A good massage always yields the best pizza. Put the dough ball back into the original bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and then with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm place to rise. I usually place my bowl in the oven with the light on, it is usually a little bit warmer than the rest of the room.
It is not only a good massage that will make a good pizza but, of course, also giving it enough time to rise. I got back to my dough after 5 hours, and it had tripled in size. Now it is time to stretch it – or roll it out, if a rolling pin can ease the process. I used my pizza stone, so when I rolled out my dough I also set the oven on maximum and put my stone in to properly warm it up. This quantity will yield one pizza, the size of a regular Italian pizza. I used my pizza stone, and made it exactly its size.
After the pizza stone has been sitting in the oven for a half hour, it is time to garnish the dough and bake it. Spread the rest of the olive oil over the dough, slice the tomatoes and place them on top. Lastly, slice the buffalo mozzarella and place it around in between the tomatoes. I gently dabbed the buffalo mozzarella slices with paper towel as this type of mozzarella releases more milk than regular mozzarella. Transfer the pizza over the hot stone and bake. Preferably, the oven has to be kept at the highest temperature. My oven promises 275°C, but it never really reaches that high. Take out the pizza when the bottom feels crusty and hard, should be about 10 minutes at 250°C.
And now take a moment to appreciate the pizza as it bakes. the bulging crust, the melting cheese… aaah.
When the pizza comes out of the oven, it is time to add the avocado slices. Place them around, then drizzle the pizza with salt and pepper to give the tomatoes – now nicely roasted – and fresh avocado some extra flavour. Given the presence of the avocado, there is no need for extra olive oil.
I belong to a foodie facebook group, and I remember that in a thread dedicated to everything avocado someone mentioned avocado pizza and someone else asked what would an Italian think of it. I stepped in to say that as an Italian I actually really like it. Sure, it’s not one of the traditional ones. But avocado has such a neutral flavour that thinly sliced it just pairs up wonderfully with pizza. Actually, pizza bianca, that is pizza without tomato sauce, can always be a little dry, so the addition of fatty avocado actually complements the dryish crust quite wonderfully.