Monday, October 15, 2012

Bet you haven't seen this before! Cauliflower Crust Pizza!

Let's start this one off by saying that I love love love to experiment in the kitchen. I'm not quite at the caliber of Ferrán Adrià, but if I can transform an everyday food item into something I've never had or thought of before, it is the butter to my bread. I don't have any dietary restrictions due to health, but I really love what recipes come from the vegan, gluten-free, food allergy people--this isn't Schadenfreude, rather I appreciate that people haven't just cut what they love out of their lives, but have adapted to their situation. Even locavores have such a wealth of resources right on our doorstep to experiment and make something completely new! This excites me like nothing else. So, today we are going to make a pizza crust without flour, without yeast, but just as flavorful with onion, cheese, cauliflower, and spices. Finally, we will top it all off with whatever we had in the fridge that we thought would make a good pizza, and you're good to go!

The most difficult part of this crust is not really that daunting of a task. You have to "rice" the cauliflower, either with a grater or in a food processor on pulse. I took a cheese grater on the largest hole and grated the whole head in about 10 minutes (I'll beat that time with more practice :D). Many recipes in my research said that you have to cook the riced cauliflower before you prepare the crust, but I didn't buy that. I roast raw cauliflower on a baking sheet with just olive oil and salt in the oven all the time, so I cut down a step in this recipe and everything turned out just fine.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Adapted from Eat Drink Smile
1 Small head of cauliflower, riced
1 T Onion, minced or grated
1T Garlic, minced or crushed
2 Eggs
1 C Grated mozzarella
1/2 C Parmesan 
1 T Olive oil
Sea Salt
Pizza toppings

First, you need to prepare the crust. Heat your oven to 425º and drizzle your pizza pan with olive oil. combine all of the ingredients save the pizza toppings and mix well until you have your cauliflower dough. Spread out the mixture with your hands and pat it into the shape of the pizza you want. If you are using a rectangular pan, that's cool, just pat it out to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Throw that baby in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. It will smell wonderful. That caramelized cauliflower that you have on the crust is gold to me, and I think you'll agree.

Then, all you do to finish it off is top this cauliflower crust exactly as you would any pizza. Time to experiment! Basically, I just take whatever I have kickin around in the fridge or pantry and throw it on top. This time I took out the mandolin and sliced up some summer squash and topped it with salami on a bed of fresh cut mozzarella (not grated) and homemade tomato sauce. I was happy with it! Throw the pizza back in the oven for 5-7 minutes or under the broiler for just a few minutes to melt the toppings.

Now, this crust isn't your everyday New York style slice that you can just fold in half and stuff in your mouth. I would make this akin to the Chicago-style approach with a fork and knife...except it's not a stuffed deep-dish pizza from heaven--> which gives me an idea...

So break out the utensils and dig into this way healthier than normal pizza. The cauliflower's browning really adds a different perspective to the typical pizza, with it's sweetness and crunchy texture, not to mention what the parmesan does when it's been roasting alongside gorgeous vegetables all day. I know it is a different approach, but I encourage your adventurous side to take on this challenge, because it is really a cool way to make pizza!

Enjoy my friends, and eat well!

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