Do you remember Stouffer’s French Bread Pizzas? I LOVED them as a kid, and even as an adult, if I’m “forced” to buy frozen pizza, I’ll run straight for these little guys. They’re like little bread boats of pizza goodness. And for me, they are the perfect size, especially for an easy lunch, or dinner when the hubby’s away.
I’ve made my own French bread pizzas plenty of times, but always with marinara sauce. While watching The Food Network channel a few weeks ago, however, I tuned into an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and watched her make this super simple recipe for Garlic Oil. As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it—Margherita pizza, which traditionally uses olive oil in lieu of marinara sauce. Garlic infused olive oil would add another dimension to the pizza, I thought. Plus, I absolutely love garlic on pizza. Especially pepperoni and fresh garlic, but that’s another story…
To make things easy on myself, and add a bit of fun, I picked up French bread to use instead of pizza dough. The day was hot, hot, and I didn’t want to spend time in the kitchen kneading and rising dough. To accompany the French bread, I bought Purple Cherokee (I believe) heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. That’s it. That’s all you need for these pizzas. Oh, and pinch of sea salt, and some fresh ground pepper. Okay, I also snuck in some fresh spinach leaves, but that’s optional. Pretty simple, huh?
1 loaf of French bread, or 2 small loaves
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, depending on size
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
fresh ground pepper
fresh spinach leaves, optional
Pre-make the garlic oil.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the French bread in half length-wise, and into whatever size portions you want to eat. Brush the cut side of the bread with the garlic oil, and place in the oven on a perforated pizza sheet or pizza stone for a few minutes, or until the bread just begins to toast. Remove from oven.
Top the oil brushed bread with a sprinkle of sea salt. Add slices of fresh mozzarella, the spinach leaves if you’re using, and heirloom tomato. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until bread is lightly brown and the cheese is melted. *Note: fresh mozzarella doesn’t melt the same way other cheeses do. It will get warm and spread slightly, but it largely keeps it shape.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh slivers of basil and fresh ground pepper.
If you wish, chop some of the garlic in the garlic oil and sprinkle over the top as well.