It’s Tomato Week at Food52 and they’ve challenged me to participate in their BLT-Off with a few other food bloggers. What better way to mix up the usual BLT sandwich than by turning it into a delicious pizza?! This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light and it’s hands down delicious! Tune into the competition on Facebook on August 26th.
Someone asked me recently if I like shooting for my blog or restaurants better. I think it’s hard to choose because both situations are a lot of work and provide different levels of creativity for me. I’ll break it down for you.
If I’m shooting for the blog, I am in complete creative control from start to finish. As much as I love the creative freedom, I am wearing many hats. I research, cook, style, prop, shoot, edit and write. I really love it, because it’s my blog and I learn so much about food simply by cooking it. The drawback is, I don’t get to shoot nearly as many things like I would on a restaurant shoot, because I am doing everything myself. And, although my kitchen is a total mess at the end of the day, I can’t imagine being a food photographer who didn’t get their hands messy with the cooking.
If I’m shooting for a restaurant, I have a lot more help. I’m not cooking. I’m focusing on the photography. Food comes out fast and I really need to think on my feet to keep us moving through the shot list. It’s interesting, because sometimes restaurants can be reluctant to invest in professional food photography. But, once the shoot day arrives, everyone is really excited to have me there, I get to shoot a lot of gorgeous food and the restaurant ends up with authentic, beautiful imagery to showcase what they do best. At the end of the busy day, I really enjoy helping restaurants tell their food stories. (Not having to clean up the kitchen at the end is pretty nice too.)
Since I’ve been really busy with restaurants the last month, I’m ready to get back to the blog and slow down a bit. When I saw this BLT Pizza recipe in Cooking Light magazine after a busy shoot day last week, I was immediately inspired to add it to my upcoming blog shoots. It’s funny because I’ve never actually ordered a BLT sandwich in my life, but I do love making, eating and shooting pizza. I think every food photographer has a different idea about what foods are easier to shoot than others, but for me, pizza is one of the more fun foods to shoot. There’s nothing perfect about it; it’s kind of messy, super colorful and completely appetizing.
The recipe comes together so nicely and I highly recommend investing in a standard pizza stone. Pizza cooks so much faster on one of these things! I actually forgot that we had one and when Mike pulled it out from the cabinet, my photographer eyes sparkled. The stone has some old cooking stains on it and really brought out that rustic, honest quality that I focus on with my photography. Needless to say, the pizza was absolutely delicious too.
1 pound ripe tomatoes on the vine, sliced
Note: I used a variety of sizes (medium and small)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 bacon slices
10 ounces of fresh pizza dough
Flour to help roll the dough
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup baby arugula
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack.
3. Arrange tomato slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Sprinkle tomatoes with oregano and black pepper.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and remove tomatoes; keep pizza stone in oven.
6. Arrange bacon slices on a different baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until desired crispiness.
8. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Break into pieces after they’ve cooled.
9. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
10. Combine mayonnaise, olive oil, chives and garlic in a small bowl.
11. Using well-floured hands and a little flour on the counter, roll/pat dough into a 10-inch circle.
12. Place rolled dough on pizza peel and pierce the dough with a fork.
13. Transfer to preheated pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes.
14. Carefully remove pizza stone and brush mayonnaise mixture over the crust leaving a 1-inch border. 15. Top with tomatoes and bacon and mozzarella slices.
16. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
17. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes.
18. Top with arugula and cut into slices.
All Images © Regan Baroni 2016.