Meyer Lemon Pizza.

Wait! Stop running away.

I swear this isn’t as bad as it seems. I swear I’m not trying to serve you a PIZZA WITH LEMONS.

Well. That’s a lie. I definitely am. Surely, I did put lemons on your pizza. I put lemons on your pizza on this fine Monday in January, this Monday that marks the definitive end of the holiday season, because you know since last week still held a holiday, I partied it up all the way until last night at midnight. And by partied it up I mean I went to the mall, ate a hot dog, watched Anchorman and was in bed by 10. I also emotionally ate half a bag of Popchips because… it’s January. Ew. January.

Oh but can I tell you that it was the best hot dog of my life? It had grilled onions and sautéed mushrooms and cheese and ketchup and all sorts of incredible hot dog-like things that I would never be brave enough to get on my own hot dog but did so anyway. I may never be the same again.

Okay I’m done.

So these lemons brighten things up a bit. I neeeeeed it. Snow, cold, slush, gray… that’s all I see right now. Finding these meyer lemons totally made my weekend, which may be the overstatement of the year but 1. you should not expect anything less from me, 2. it’s only the seventh day of the year and 3. it might just be true.

I’d love to take sole credit for such a delicious idea but it would be a complete lie. I’ve been waiting (and I do mean WAITING) to recreate this recipe for over six months; it was six months ago when I first tasted a pizza like this in Carmel that practically everyone but me ordered. I’m pretty sure I went with whatever had “fig” and “bacon” in the description because I am incredibly predictable, and while it was fantastic I definitely stole bites and bites and bites from the meyer lemon pizzas surrounding me. My adventurous palate was a big fat fail that day and I’ve been paying for it ever since. Who knew that Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly a hub for meyer lemon trees? Huh.

A gigantic disclaimer: if you are craving pizza, and I’m talking REAL pizza, like sauce and piles upon piles of cheese and some pepperoni and maybe even sausage, this is really not the pizza you should make. Don’t get me wrong, it is freaking fabulous. And I say fabulous because I also watched a four hour Sex and the City marathon yesterday. But you have to be willing to try something new, to go outside the box, and seriously… you sort of have to enjoy citrus. This will not give you a gooey cheese fix.

It will, however, give you a whole new flavor experience and it might blow your mind a little bit. It begins with a creamy parmesan garlic spinach then just adds layer upon layer of flavor. The key is to slice the meyer lemons – which are more sweet than tart – super thin. That way, you eat the entire slice without issue – yes, even the rind – and it adds a freshness to the spinach and prosciutto that is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Considering this may be pretty wild and crazy to some, your best bet may be serving it as a flatbread-type appetizer in addition to something more hearty or dare I say… normal.

Or else you could just make the entire thing for dinner and eat it yourself. No biggie.


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Meyer Lemon Pizza

Yield: one pizza (8-12 slices)

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients:

crust
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

pizza
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese (you could sub cream cheese)
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 ounces sliced prosciutto
6 ounces goat cheese
2 meyer lemons, very thinly sliced with seeds removed
finely grated parmesan for sprinkling

Directions:

crust
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape (sometimes I use baking sheets and do rectangles or free form pizzas - this specific dough will yield one pizza large enough to feed about 3-4 people) and place on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes.

pizza
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat and add garlic. Cook for one minute then add spinach, tossing well to coat. Cook until wilted, about 5-6 minutes, then stir in the mascarpone and parmesan until creamy. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir well, then set aside.

Brush remaining olive oil all over pizza dough, then evenly distribute creamy spinach mixture over top. Place torn slices of prosciutto on next, then crumble goat cheese all over the pizza. Finally, layer on the thin slices of lemon and top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until crust and cheese is golden. Remove and let cool slightly, then slice!

[crust adapted from my garlic bread pizza crust, pizza inspired by the corkscrew cafe]

I hope we can still be friends.