Photo by Sean Michael Hower.
Porto Mediterranean Grill and Pizzeria, Pacific Whale Foundation
Once you try our artisan pizzas, you’ll have a hard time going back to ordinary pizza ever again. Pizza is sold in so many places across the country (and so much of it is disappointing or mediocre) but artisan pizza is what good pizza is all about. The crust is homemade and hand-rolled and is just the right mix of crisp and chewy, with just a slight bit of charring from our flame-fired pizza oven. We don’t drown the pizza in sauce or pile it high with cheese–everything is in just the right proportion. We take a lot of care with our toppings, too. I’m sharing this particular recipe because it showcases the great flavors of Italy and also rewards you with the rich flavors of locally grown produce and herbs. Prepare it with fresh, local, flavorful ingredients and it’s a hit. Prepare it with pale tomatoes that have traveled thousands of miles to get to Hawaii and it’s a dud. Shop at the farmers’ markets and you don’t have to pay more to get quality.
If you’re making pizza at home, make it with a pizza stone that you’ve pre-heated in a very hot oven. And buy quality ingredients. At Porto, our high-temperature flame-fired oven and quality ingredients are the secret to our excellent results.
A simple recipe that uses Maui produce and is a winner at parties is caprese salad. This recipe is all about the ingredients. The secret is to buy local, vine-ripened tomatoes like Kula Dave’s Tomatoes, then a nice fresh mozzarella, plus fresh local basil (best yet is to grow basil in your garden or in a pot on your lanai, so you always have it ready).
Slice the tomatoes and the mozzarella into quarter inch slices and layer on an attractive plate or low-sided dish or platter. Include lots of fresh basil between each layer.
Drizzle with an extra-virgin quality olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature alongside some crusty warm bread.
It’s a dish that’s simple, beautiful (we eat with our eyes!) and delicious.
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