Arugula, pine nuts, and the blueberry relish top meats and homemade pizza dough. (Photo by Tress Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Arugula, pine nuts, and the blueberry relish top meats and homemade pizza dough. (Photo by Tress Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Blueberry pizza marks the end of summer

The acidity and sweetness of the berries make them an excellent companion for creamy cheeses and fatty meats.

Windstorms and foggy mornings have signaled the end of summer here on the strawberry patch.

Yet again our days of endless sunshine seem to have passed me quickly by, and I have renewed resolve to appreciate the precious time before each outing must begin with a hectic production of coats, snowsuits, gloves and hats.

As I was tilling my radish patch for a fall crop, my mother-in-law ran past with news that her nearby blueberry spot was ready for picking. She has been doing a lot of picking and scouting for berries lately, as have many Alaskans, hoping to gather enough to enjoy until they are ripe on the bushes again.

Most of our blueberries will be frozen, but while they are still fresh and so wonderfully plentiful, I am emboldened to experiment with unexpected pairings and unorthodox applications. The acidity and sweetness of the berries make them an excellent companion for creamy cheeses and fatty meats. This steak and arugula pizza with blueberry relish is as complex and delicious as it is beautiful and makes a satisfying dinner after a day of picking in the marshes or mountains.

Ingredients:

Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm water

3 tablespoons yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

Blueberry Relish

1 cup fresh blueberries

½ cup diced red onion

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

Toppings

6-8 ounces beef steak (sirloin or tenderloin work well), cooked rare, cooled, and sliced thin

1 cup fresh arugula

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

6 ouces brie

6 ounces feta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix your honey and yeast into the warm water and let rest 5 minutes until bubbles form.

Combine your salt and flour, pour in your yeast and water mixture, and knead until soft, smooth and springy.

Cover and let rest in a greased bowl until the dough has doubled in size. Timing varies depending on the ambient temperature, but generally 1.5-2 hours is enough.

While the dough is rising, make your relish by combining all ingredients and covering with 1 cup of water.

Boil until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is the consistency of a loose jam. Taste and season, then set aside until ready for plating.

Season your steak with salt and pepper and cook just enough to sear the outside. This will help you to get very thin, even slices. The meat will finish cooking in the oven, so don’t worry if it looks too rare. Wait until the meat is completely cooled before slicing into slices no thicker than ¼ inch.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a sheet pan with olive oil, roll out your dough to fit, and bake the bare crust until the top begins to brown, around 12-15 minutes. Rotate halfway if you know your oven has a hot spot.

Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil.

Dress your pizza starting with minced garlic, then cheeses, then meat.

Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the brie has melted and the meat is cooked to your desired doneness.

Remove from the oven and finish with arugula, pine nuts, and the blueberry relish.

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