According to writer Mark Twain, ‘cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education’. This uniquely versatile veggie has graduated above its many cousins, …. broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale and kohlrabi to become the sophisticate darling of the species. Delicious raw, fried, grilled, pickled, riced, roasted, steamed or sautéed.
Cauliflower ‘rice’ came on the scene as a popular grain-free alternative to rice. As with many food trends, the ‘riced’ craze has continued using other veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, and peas.
The grocery stores have jumped on the bandwagon with fresh and frozen products and in a variety of plain and flavored versions.
Making your own riced vegetables is even easier than in days gone by. Just trim, chop and pulse your veggies in a food processor. Cook with a quick steam or sauté and flavor with some fresh herbs and spices. Of course, you can always change it up with other chopped veggies, nuts, or a sprinkle of cheese.
Riced cauliflower makes an interesting pizza crust. A different texture than the traditional bread dough crust but loaded with flavor. It’s sort of firm, chewy and soft all at the same time. I had tried this idea some years ago and we quite liked it so why not try it with a different topping and have it again!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust w/ Barbecued Chicken
In food processor or blender, pulse cauliflower until it reaches consistency of coarse crumbs.
Place cauliflower and 3 tbsp water in microwaveable dish and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one edge lifted. Microwave on high, stirring once or twice during cooking time, until cauliflower is tender, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool. Drain cauliflower in colander lined with cheesecloth or thin, clean tea towel. Wrap cauliflower in cheesecloth and twist while pressing to remove all liquid (this step is essential).
Place pizza pan or baking sheet in oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
In bowl, combine cauliflower, egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, transfer cauliflower mixture to piece of parchment paper and press into 12-inch circle. Slide parchment paper with cauliflower crust onto hot baking sheet from preheated oven. Bake until crust is golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, sauté red onion & mushrooms until tender and moisture has evaporated.
Evenly spread half of the barbecue sauce over baked cauliflower crust, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese & all of the onion & mushrooms . In bowl, toss chicken with remaining barbecue sauce; evenly arrange over crust and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onion.
Each year when summer arrives with its array of fresh fruits, so does the dessert ‘fruit’ pizza. How could you not love it — tender pastry shell filled with a custard and topped with colorful fruit! Fruit does have its rightful place atop pizza but it doesn’t have to be limited to dessert. When it comes to savory, we are all familiar with the ham & pineapple pizza. But you can’t just throw pineapple on pizza and call it done. The abundance of sweet or tart fruit has the power to give pizza a burst of flavor and add complexity to its profile. When balancing a fruit topping, cheese can make all the difference. Next, pair it with cured meats add heat and you have that glorious sweet and savory fusion.
Numerous times I have served roast pork tenderloin with a wild blueberry balsamic sauce. It never lets me down in taste or eye appeal. If that combo could taste so good, why wouldn’t a savory blueberry pizza work?!
Savory Wild Blueberry Pizza
Preheat oven to 400 F. Pat & stretch dough onto a 14-inch pizza pan. With a fork, pierce the dough several times.
Leaving a 1-inch border, sprinkle dough with half of the mozzarella, all the gorgonzola, chopped bacon & red onion. Bake until crust is golden brown, 12-14 minutes.
Sprinkle the blueberries, remaining mozzarella cheese & sliced green pepper over pizza; bake until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven; top with basil (if using) & pepper.