“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine, it’s Summertime! Sweet Summertime!” –Kenny Chesney
There are so many joys of summer: swimming in the pool, digging your toes in the sand at the beach, swinging on a rope and dropping into a clear, cool lake, heading into the woods with your family in your RV, or family fun at an amusement park— there is so much to enjoy about summer!
One of my favorite joys of summer is the vegetables that are at their best in the warm summer months like summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn on the cob, and fresh herbs of all kinds. I love a good farmer’s market or the blessings of a neighbor’s goodwill and overly abundant garden for fresh vegetables. In a pinch, even the grocery store gets better produce options in the summer! I love to cook and the fresh summer ingredients certainly help me to make yummy, healthy summer eats.
One of our favorite summer meals is Grilled Bruschetta Pizza. This summer, we grew our own Cherry Tomato and basil plants specifically to make this recipe. Thankfully, our plants did not disappoint! We’ve also been blessed by our neighbor’s garden with an abundance of sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes of yellow, orange and red. I’ve made a lot of Bruschetta and we are making the best pizza this girl and her guy can ask for.
If you like a flavorful, light summer dinner, Grilled Bruschetta Pizza is a great recipe to try. It’s easy to make at home or take with you on an RV trip.
The Star: What Tomatoes Work Best
While this summer, we have enjoyed the sweet Cherry tomatoes that we’ve grown, Roma tomatoes are a good option as well. Use your favorite tomato but a sweet, fresh tomato variety makes this recipe a delight. Tomatoes have a lot of liquid inside them when you cut them so I always squeeze the liquid and the seeds out and then chop them into small bites.
The Co-star: Roasted Garlic
Depending on how you feel about garlic, you should know that when you roast it, it gets sweet and mild and it really shines in this recipe. To start, I roast the garlic earlier in the day to allow it time to cook and cool so it’s ready when I’m ready to put the Bruschetta together. To roast the garlic, peel away any loose layers of the garlic head skin. Cut the top of the garlic bulb off to expose some of the cloves. On a sheet of aluminum foil, sprinkle the cut garlic with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Lightly fold the foil around the garlic and place it into a 400-degree toaster oven or conventional oven for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the garlic bulb. I always check it when I start to smell the garlic cooking, testing it with a fork. The garlic should be fork tender. Allow the garlic to cool completely and then pop the garlic out of the head and chop. YUM!
I recommend roasting two heads of garlic. I find that, for us, one head is not enough for this recipe and while two heads might be too much, the remainder of the roasted garlic can be used in other recipes that you might use garlic in and it can be saved in your refrigerator for a few days for later use.
The Supporting Cast: Pizza Crust
You should know that I struggle with yeast and dough. As a result, I avoid any recipe with yeast. If you are a Yeast Guru, then make your own crust! (Lucky Duck!) The cool thing is that you can make this part how you wish and the pizza crust options are up to you and the preferences of those you’re feeding! We have used Naan, fresh pizza dough (from the pop-can in the biscuit section of the grocery store, cooked on the grill), and pre-made crusts of all kinds. We like the crust to be thin and crispy so the Bruschetta becomes the star of the show.
Grilled Bruschetta Pizza
Sweet, fresh tomatoes like Roma or cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 Red Onion or Sweet Onion, finely diced
1-2 Roasted heads of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Mozzarella, shredded or in chunks (whatever your preference). Mozzarella is a mild but gooey melted cheese and doesn’t mask the other flavors. It plays well within this recipe.
Pizza Crust of choice
How to make it
- Roast the garlic in advance so it is cooked and cooled when you are ready to assemble the Bruschetta-see tips above.
- Prep your ingredients. Chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and julienne the basil and place in a bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle lightly with sale and pepper.
- Combine gently all ingredients with a spoon.
- Shred or cube the cheese in tiny cubes.
- Spoon the Bruschetta over the pizza crust and top with cheese.
- Carefully place pizza on a pre-heated grill on medium heat. If you are working on a grill, cover. Grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Slice and enjoy!
This might be a great summer recipe but let me assure you that when we are deep in January with temperatures outside dipping below freezing and we are missing summer most, this is still a recipe I go to when I really miss the warmth of summer. In the winter, the pizza can be placed on a cookie sheet and popped into the oven at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and the pizza is hot. It’s a great hint of summer just when you need one.
I hope you enjoy this simple taste of summer, any time of the year!