A happy, warm October 1st to you all! I hope you got to spend some time outdoors yesterday, now that it is finally summer.
To me, nothing tastes more like summer than dry-farmed early girl tomatoes. Dry farming is a tried and true technique, used often for growing olives and grapes. Once a plant is established but before it starts to fruit, the farmer will cut off all irrigation (including sheltering it from the rains). The lack of water stresses the plant, and causes it to focus on bearing fruit.
The resulting fruit is smaller and more concentrated than normal. In the case of tomatoes, this means a tiny, crunchy, and incredibly sweet treat. Dry farmed early girls are great raw as a snack, served slice with sea salt, made into a gazpacho, or roasted. We tried them on a pizza! (recipe below) You can also try them in this week's herbed tomato sourdough.
You can find organic dry-farmed early girls at most markets and some grocery stores from the following farms: Happy Boy Farm, Blue House Farm, Tomatero Farm, Fifth Crow Farm.
This recipe is what we used during our demo at the Eat Real Festival's community bread oven. Please substitute liberally, and feel free to send questions, or photos of your successes!
Early Girl Pizza
1 c sorghum flour
3/4 c millet flour
1/2 c arrowroot starch
1/4 c white rice flour
2 t xanthan gum
1 1/2 t salt
3/4 t active dry yeast
Mix all dry ingredients except yeast. Add yeast to a cup of water in a separate bowl, and wait until it is dissolved. Add that mixture to the dry, and mix. The dough should resemble a very wet but still "kneadable" bread dough. Add more water if needed. Once the dough is mixed, let it rise for as long as you can stand. (this means at least 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours. If you make it more than 4 hours in advance, store it in the fridge).
6-8 dry farmed early girl tomatoes, sliced
fresh mozzarella or ricotta, if desired
fresh garlic, minced
herbs if desired
Preheat your oven to 500 if it goes that high. Spread some cornmeal or other coarse flour on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scrape out your dough onto the sheet and spread it to your desired size. You may need to wet your hands and the dough to avoid sticking. Rub some olive oil over the dough and bake for 5-10 minutes.
Pull out the dough, which should feel bread-like now, and top with olive oil, garlic, salt, tomatoes, and cheese and herbs if using. Pop it back in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned (easier to see if using cheese). Enjoy hot, preferably outdoors with friends.
If you have any questions about the recipe, or would like to share photos of your pizzas, send them my way! You can reach me at sadie at breadsrsly dot com.