Sunday, April 1, 2012

Freestyle Pizza

The pizza family. Mine is the healthy looking one in the back
Tonight I think I created the perfect least for my palate. A pizza that had dandelion leaves, an aged sheep's milk cheese, sauteed yellow zucchinis and onions and plenty of olive oil. Okay, it's not a typical pizza, but then again, who doesn't love homemade pizza - especially when you get to make your own - even the kids! I bought a ready-made dough from the My Market Bakery in Kensington market - definitely the best pizza dough I've ever bought. I got the plain version for the kids and  multigrain for the grown-ups. Everyone did a different pizza, but here's how I did mine:

Not that these are hard to tell apart, but the kid's were pretty similar, so labeling was required (sharpy on parchment paper)

Get half a red onion, thinly slice, and saute in some oil. Go for a light caramelization - somewhere between fried onions and braised-to-mush onions. When satisfied, set them aside. Then get a yellow zucchini and a green zucchini, slice thinly and sautee in some oil with a bit of dried oregano, salt and pepper. Once lightly browned and soften, put aside (don't over cook them - they need to have their structural integrity intact). Then get a bunch of dandelion leaves, give them a good wash and remove the worst of the stalky bits. Then hand tear the leaves. Dandelions have a wonderful bitter flavour which lend themselves nicely to many different flavour profiles, however just to sit and munch on these leaves in their raw state might be a bit overwhelming for a lot of people (I dig 'em either way). Then start setting up your pizza. First, roll out the dough on a floured surface. I'm really partial to irregular, free-style shapes as opposed to a perfect circle. Then, I made a quick 'raw' pizza sauce (see recipe here) which the rest of the family employed, but I felt pioneering and simply dressed my dough with some generous drizzles of olive oil, salt and pepper. On top of the olive oil went a thin layer of the softened red onion, followed by a most attractive layer of two-toned zucchini (resembled yellow and green roof shingles), Then atop that the torn dandelion leaves. I threw in a few extras before the cheese including some pickled Italian chilies, a couple of halved grape tomatoes and a few thin slices of a locally-cured cacciatore salami from Easton's in Kesington market (which in retrospect, I have realized is much better eaten at room temperature - the heat from the oven makes the cured meat a bit tough). On top of all that went thin shavings of the most extraordinary aged sheep's milk cheese that I also bought in the market. It's from France, but I'll be darned if I can remember the name - I'll have to look it up. It was sharp and salty and beautifully tangy. It melted nicely and because of it's delicacy, I held some back that I could sprinkle fresh, on top the finished pizza, along with some raw dandelion leaves dressed with more olive oil, salt and a sqeeze of lemon as a garnish (the leaves will wilt nicely from the heat of the pizza). I served on a wooden board with a little ramekin of the heated up 'raw' sauce, which makes a wonderful marinara dip for the crusts.

That's it. The perfect pizza. Well..for me anyway.

Yes, it looks terribly healthy and leafy, but it really was good!

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