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Bacon, Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza

Bacon, Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza

Bacon and tomato are a classic combination, especially when lettuce is thrown in. Although this recipe does not call for lettuce, if you wish, you can use 1 cup of arugula leaves to create your own "BLT." Just add the arugula as soon as the pizza comes out of the oven. With or without the greens, this pizza is a winner because of both simplicity and full flavor.

8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (if it is too watery to grate, use a sharp knife to chop it into small pieces)
1 large tomato (about 3/4 pound), seeds and most of the juice removed, coarsely chopped
Purchased dough for one 14-inch pizza, refrigerated
Preheat the oven to 500°F.

If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the oven. Sprinkle a 14-inch pizza pan with cornmeal. If you are using a pizza stone, sprinkle cornmeal on a wooden peel (paddle) or a rimless baking sheet. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat just until the edges begin to brown but the bacon is still soft and pliable, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

To make the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch the dough into an 8- or 9-inch circle. Now, lift the dough and drape it over your knuckles. Gently stretch the dough from underneath with your knuckles, being careful not to break through the dough. If you keep your knuckles under the thickest part of the dough, it shouldn't break. When you're done, the dough should measure 14 inches in diameter. The edges will be slightly thicker than the center, which should be almost translucent. Place the dough on the pizza pan, peel, or baking sheet.

Brush the rim of the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Distribute the cheese over the dough and sprinkle with the bacon pieces. Bake for 5 minutes. Scatter the tomatoes over the surface of the pizza and continue baking until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly and the bacon is crisp, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer; 4 as a main course.

Note: The pizza will cook more quickly with a pizza stone. Allow an extra 5 minutes' baking time if you're not using a stone.