Kelly Neil

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Blueberry Bacon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds

It's no secret that I love bacon (and Baileys) (and sausage, prosciutto, baked ham, pancetta, etc, etc), however, I also love the incredible array of fruits and vegetables that grow in Nova Scotia during the summer.

Our high bush blueberries are second to none, but sometimes, (not often), I want them in something other than dessert.

And so, yesterday for lunch I made a pizza with blueberry sauce and bacon and I gotta tell you - IT. WAS. AWESOME.

I am obsessed with the fresh pizza dough from The Italian Market on Young Street. For $3.00, you get enough dough to make 4 personal-sized pizzas (the pizza in the picture is one quarter of the dough - you can freeze the rest if you want). I've made my own pizza dough but it's never as good as The Italian Market's and so, when I go for my weekly Prosciutto sandwich (best sandwich in the city BTW), I now pick up fresh pizza dough (and some of their fresh sweet fennel sausage too - it's sooooooo good).

Blueberry Bacon Pizza with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds (makes one 12-inch-ish thin crust pizza)

1/4 C slivered almonds

1 Tbsp Port (I used Gaspereau Vineyard's Reserve Port, made in Nova Scotia)

1/8 tsp cornstarch

1/2 C Nova Scotia high bush blueberries (or any blueberries you can get your hands on)

pizza dough (if buying from Italian Market, 1/4 of dough)

flour for rolling dough

cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

olive oil for brushing dough

salt and pepper

2 strips bacon, cooked, torn into pieces with your hands 

handful of goat cheese

fresh herbs of your choice (I used fresh oregano from my garden and it was really nice)

- on the stovetop, in a dry frying pan, cook the almonds over medium heat until they are golden and fragrant - STIR OFTEN - once they turn brown they won't take long to burn so keep your eye on them - once they're browned, I like to spread mine out on a baking sheet to cool so they don't continue to cook in the hot pan - it will take about 10 minutes - set aside

- in a small container with a lid (I use a small Mason jar), combine Port and cornstarch - with lid on, shake until well combined - place blueberries in a small pot and pour Port/cornstarch mix over berries - cook over medium/low heat until berries are soft - squish berries gently with a potato masher and continue to cook until sauce has thickened  - stir well and remove from heat

- preheat oven to 450º - on a well floured surface, roll out the dough to your desired size (I find the Italian Market's dough quite sticky and so I liberally flour my counter as well as the top of the dough) - sprinkle a generous handful of cornmeal on a baking sheet (the cornmeal prevents the dough from sticking to the sheet and also adds a nice crunch) - lay out the rolled dough on top of the cornmeal - brush the top of the dough with olive oil and season with salt and pepper - bake at 450º for 3 minutes then open the oven door and CAREFULLY pop any bubbles in the dough with a fork - continue to bake 5-6 minutes more - remove from oven and place sheet on a cooling rack

- spread the blueberry sauce on the dough - top with bacon pieces, goat cheese and almonds - place back in the oven and bake 4-5 minutes more (depending on how you like your pizza - some people like pizza a bit crispier and so it might need a bit longer in the oven - just keep your eye on it)

- remove from oven, place on rack and top with fresh herbs of your choice - serve