Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Another summer, another year to roast the heck out of shishito peppers. 

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Since my first introduction to these funny little peppers, I can't help but roast pints of them when they are in season. Usually I opt for some variation of this super simple method, and this year is no exception—they are best simply charred with a little bit of sea salt. 

So why not top them on pizza? 1 in 10 of these peppers has a bit of a fire, although for the most recent basket I bought it was more like 1 in 3. As a person who is still working on being comfortable with spicy foods, I'll eat them like chips until I get a particularly spicy one. Luckily, the fire from shishito peppers quickly fades away. This spice lends a similar kick to topping your pizza with crushed red pepper flakes but with more of a fresh pepper taste.

This pizza also celebrates fresh summer corn which adds a bit of sweetness and crunch and balances the spiciness you may get from a shishito pepper. A few summers ago, I happened to be at the Davis Farmer's Market right before it closed only to buy half a dozen or so ears of corn at a super cheap price. Boy, was that was a lot of corn to husk. A few weeks ago, I learned a cool method of how to cook and shuck corn in one of the cleanest ways I've ever experienced from Pacific Star Gardens. Here it is below:

How to Cook and Shuck Corn using a Microwave:

  1. Place one ear of corn on a paper towel in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Rotate the corn 180º and microwave for another minute.
  3. Carefully remove corn from the microwave (it will be hot!), and slowly peel off the husk and hair. It should all slide off quite easily.
  4. Continue Steps 1-3 with remaining ears of corn (or add one minute in Steps 1 and 3 for each additional ear of corn).

To cut off corn from the cob, I lay it down flat on a cutting board and rotate it every 90º or so. This prevents the corn from flying everywhere (like if you cut it off while standing it up) and feels so much safer than doing it the bundt cake method

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Instead of choosing to top this pizza with red or white sauce, I chose pesto because it has such a refreshing summer taste that makes the pizza reminiscent of the decadence of pesto twists. Either making your own or buying store-bought pesto is perfectly fine for this pizza. I also opted for fresh mozzarella because I love the way it melts on pizza. Topped off with roasted corn, shishito peppers and some fresh basil leaves, this pizza celebrates two of my favorite summer vegetables. 

If you are thinking, "No way am I making pizza in the summer!", well I don't blame you. If you are using an oven, you will have to crank it up to the highest temperature it can reach, plus take the additional time to heat up your pizza stone (if you have one). So be warned, yes, this can be a very hot experience but there is something pretty cool and rewarding about making your own pizza. And if you have an outdoor method of making pizza (e.g. a BBQ + pizza stone works!), props to you!  

I have a pizza stone but not a pizza peel so I chose to start off baking this pizza on a sheet pan on top of my pizza stone and then finished it on the pizza stone once the pizza had been baked enough to easily remove it from the pan. There are many ways to make pizza at home. I've tried one method of making it directly on a cast iron and another method of forming the crusts directly on parchment paper and then transferring the pizza to the oven. Whichever method you decide (even buying store-bought crust), these flavors are bright and summery and will leave you wishing for another piping hot slice. 

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Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Pizza dough from King Arthur Flour

Yields: two approx. 10-inch pizzas. 

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough for two 10-inch pizzas or one large pizza
  • oil and cornmeal for prepping sheet pans.
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint shishito peppers, washed and dried
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • ½ cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 ovoline fresh mozzarellas cut into ¼-inch slices
  • fresh basil leaves (optional)

Steps

Prep pizza dough using preferred method of choice. When ready to bake, preheat oven (with pizza stone if you have it) to the hottest it can get. This is generally between 500-550ºF.

If baking your pizza on a sheet pan, lightly coat with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

While waiting for pizza stone to heat up, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until smoking. Throw in shishito peppers and char, turning and rotating when peppers start to brown/blacken. Cook until the skin on the peppers becomes wrinkly and they look wilted, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside and season with salt.

Turn the pan down to medium heat, add a little more oil if needed and add the shucked corn. Be careful, the hot oil can cause the corn to pop. Cook corn until lightly browned and set aside.

If baking two pizzas, spread half the pesto evenly on the rolled out dough, then top with fresh mozzarella and roasted corn. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until your pizza is baked through, the cheese is bubbling and a crust has formed on the top and bottom. Immediately top with shishito peppers and fresh basil leaves if desired. Continue with the second half of ingredients.

Eat right away or at whatever temperature you prefer to eat your pizza!