No sauce needed on lively Meyer Lemon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Bacon

by Terry B on March 9, 2011

Four simple toppings work together beautifully on this light, flavorful pizza. Recipe below.

meyer-lemon-pizza-close

The new USDA dietary guidelines came down hard on pizza. In fact, as Jane Black reported in New York magazine, the report singles out pizza as one of the worst things we eat. It is “Americans’ No. 2 source of saturated fat and solid fats” and our “No. 3 source of sodium, beating out cold cuts and even bacon.”

Perversely, reading this made me want pizza. Not that I was craving saturated fats and sodium. It’s just that we rarely eat pizza, and this article reminded me just how delicious it is. So when I was looking around for something to do with the last of our recent windfall of Meyer lemons (thanks again, Christina!), I started thinking pizza.

Turns out I was in good company. Lots of people think Meyer lemons are good on pizza. Happily, beyond that, ideas were all over the place on what to put on the pizza and how to cook it. Red onions, garlic, prosciutto, rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, olives, cauliflower, fresh corn, zucchini… Cheese choices were equally varied—Parmesan, mozzarella, feta, goat cheese, ricotta…

That meant I was free to experiment and come up with my own approach. And experiment I did, with Marion’s much appreciated input. The pizza in the photo above was actually my second shot at this. The first one was good; this one was better.

In the end, I settled on just four ingredients for the toppings: Meyer lemon, goat cheese, bacon and fresh chives. They all played together beautifully, if I say so myself. The mild creaminess of the goat cheese complemented the tart lemon bites perfectly. The bacon brought more to the party than mere salt, imparting a little sweet smokiness. And the chives added a light springlike oniony flavor instead of the bigger onion hit red onions might deliver. The overall effect was lively and flavorful, but not heavy.

Some Meyer lemon pizzas feature whole thin slices of lemon. Visually beautiful, but difficult to eat—you end up pulling entire slices of lemon off with a single bite (as I learned with my first attempt). For this version, I opted to quarter the slices. That way, you get lots of bright, lemony bites.

With our other recent Meyer lemon explorations—Meyer Lemon Sage Olive Oil Cake, Linguine with Scallops and Meyer Lemons and Cornish Hens with Meyer Lemons and Olives—regular lemons may be substituted. Not with this recipe. You eat the rinds and all, and regular lemons would be too tart and too tough.

Meyer Lemon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Bacon
Makes 8 slices

1 ball pizza dough (see Kitchen Notes)
5 slices bacon
flour
corn meal (optional)
olive oil
1 Meyer lemon
11 to 12 ounces goat cheese (see Kitchen Notes)
fresh chives

Remove pizza dough from fridge and let it come to room temperature. Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp and drain on paper towel. Rinse Meyer lemon carefully (you’re going to eat the skin). Slice thinly, removing any seeds, and quarter the slices.

Preheat oven to 500ºF. When the dough has reached room temperature, roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with a mix of flour and corn meal (if you’re using it—I like the crunchy texture corn meal adds to the cooked crust). We like to roll our dough as thin as possible; if it ends up being bigger than your pizza pan, you can trim off the excess and discard. Lightly oil the pizza pan. Carefully fold the crust over your rolling pin, lift it gently and slide the pizza pan under it.

Brush the crust with a little olive oil and bake it on the center rack for about 4 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble goat cheese evenly over the crust, leaving a border around the edge. Tear up the bacon slices and arrange on top of the cheese. Arrange lemon slice pieces on top of pizza. Return pizza to oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes.

Remove from oven and snip a generous sprinkling of fresh chives over pizza. Let it rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve.

Kitchen Notes

Keep the dough warm. Warm dough is much more pliable and easier to roll out. If it’s cold at all, it just keeps contracting back into itself. I use store-bought pizza dough—it’s less than three bucks at Whole Foods and quite good. Trader Joe’s also sells pizza dough, which I’ve not tried, as do some pizzerias, if you ask nicely. If you make your own dough, that is excellent, of course.

Keep the cheese cold. Goat cheese is easier to handle and crumble when it’s nice and cold. Don’t remove it from the fridge until you’re ready to put it on the pizza. Logs of goat cheese often come in 11-ounce packages, perfect for making one pizza. Otherwise, buy two 8-ounce packages and consider yourself lucky to have four or five ounces left over to enjoy some other way.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina March 9, 2011 at 4:23 am

Oh wow! That looks fantastic! I can taste the combo of sweet smoke and salt and sour in my head.

Please, stop thanking me–you’re more than welcome. I love hearing how you’re experimenting with these lemons. It is giving me all kinds of ideas.

Lindsey Johnson (Cafe Johnsonia) March 9, 2011 at 4:37 am

I am totally intrigued by this pizza! I love goat cheese on pizza. And my family eats it far too often–at least my little kids do. I think this is something my husband could really go for.

Laura March 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

How creative you are! It would never have occurred to me in a million years to put lemons on a pizza but I bet it is fabulous. I love roasted lemons and can’t wait to give this a try.

Cynthia Fox-Giddens March 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

The lemons were a surprise, but bet they make this pizza even yummier!

Jen March 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Lemons and pizza, what an original combination! I never thought about that, and it’s healthy too (which I consider the most important part). I will try this recipe for sure. Thank you.

Terry B March 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Thanks, Christina! (Oops, sorry.)

Lindsey, I don’t think there’s any such thing as eating goat cheese too often. We love it too.

Thanks, Laura! And I hadn’t thought of roasting lemons, so now you’ve given me a creative idea to try.

I have to admit, Cynthia, the idea originally surprised me too. But the lemon worked beautifully with the other flavors. (In fact, just thinking of it now is actually making my mouth water.)

I hope you like it, Jen!

Mellen March 10, 2011 at 12:55 am

Sounds totally yummo! Steve makes his own pizza all the time – we had some last night with eggplant and red pepper and goat cheese, but lemons is not something we’d thought of.

Do you have those big, cheap Asian grocery stores in Chicago? We’ve recently discovered “sweet lemons” at the ones here – they are the size of navel oranges and have a thin skin. WAY more economical than Meyer lemons and they are insanely sweet! Really, I have one for breakfast some mornings, they are that good.

Will have to try roasting them. And am planning to stuff a chicken with one or two of them in the near future.

Melissa March 10, 2011 at 2:56 am

That sounds like a perfect combo Terry. I actually can’t imagine a better combo. Something this good looking can;t be bad for you :) This reminds me that I want to play with preserving lemons & I bet preserved meyer lemons would be even better.

Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 10, 2011 at 3:17 am

LOVE this combo of flavors! This looks absolutely delicious – my hubby is going to love this!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

Terry B March 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

We do have Asian markets here, Mellen. I’ll have to look for sweet lemons. Tonight I think we’re going to roast a chicken with some small potatoes, lemons and some aromatics. If it turns out well, you may see it here soon.

Thanks, Melissa! I think you’re right about Meyer lemons being the better choice for preserving. We want to try that too.

Thanks, Mary!

altadenahiker March 11, 2011 at 2:25 am

Ah, keep thanking Christina. She’s a favorite out here as well.

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate March 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Why is it that things we “aren’t” supposed to eat always taste better. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of lemons on pizza. Interesting combo. Now… where am I going to find a wood burning oven?

karin March 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

LOVE the idea of lemons on pizza – but not wild about goat cheese….what other cheese do you think would work well with these flavor combos?

Terry B March 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I bet she is, Altadenahiker! I like her a lot and we’ve never even actually met. Same as with you, come to think of it.

Lael—If you don’t have a woodburning oven (and who does?), just use high, high heat in your conventional oven and give it plenty of time to heat up.

Karin—You could try ricotta or perhaps feta (feta is often made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk, but its salty tanginess sometimes appeals to people who don’t care for goat cheese). However, the mildness of the goat cheese is what makes it work so well here. Stronger cheeses would have a completely different effect. That said, feel free to experiment. That’s one of the fun parts of cooking—and where new ideas and recipes originate!

Shawn Goodwin November 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I make homemade pizza all the time & am fortunate enough to live in Florida where Meyer Lemons are THE ONLY LEMON to have!!! I can’t wait to try this recipe & also share it in my Recipe Sharing Group, plus with all of my friends online!!!

Terry B December 1, 2011 at 3:21 am

Thanks, Shawn! I hope you enjoy it!

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