That zucchini? Yeah. That one that your friend generously gave you from her garden but that you can’t bring yourself to eat because you’re tired of zucchini and maybe not that crazy about them anyway…and because maybe it sat for a month and is weird and soft now… I’ve come up with a way to eat it. Though food occupies my mind most of the day, I don’t post recipes on here because of the tedious directions I’d need to type out. I’m going to do this for you now. This is a pizza. This pizza is not for the faint of heart and it is by no stretch of the imagination what some might call a “flatbread”.
(Thank you Word press for your autocorrect spellcheck. Thank you now and forever.)
For the crust:
a medium/smallish zucchini or summer squash
whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. or 1 packet of yeast
1 cup of warm water
Swirl the yeast, salt and water in a large, warm bowl until all is dissolved. Let this sit for a few minutes, maybe even ten minutes, until the yeast blooms on the surface of the water. It will look frothy and foamy. Maybe this step is just for fun and maybe it isn’t. If it doesn’t bloom, carry on with the recipe anyway. I always do. While you’re waiting for this yeast “science” to happen you can shred the zucchini on a cheese grater. You’re going to toss it in with the yeast/water mixture and eventually knead it into the pizza crust. This is the part where we make the unappealing zucchini disappear so that you’ll be able to eat it once and for all. Go ahead and shred the zucchini (Like the time when that guy(or lady or whoever) you really liked shredded your heart. Like that. Food comforts, so keep making the dang pizza.) Mix the zucchini, salt and olive oil into the yeast/water/sugar mixture and stir to combine.
Now, for those of you who are regular bread bakers and pizza crust makers, this next part will be a breeze (unless the bread you make always turns out badly). For those of you who are not, don’t worry. It takes a little finesse, but you can knead this dough to perfection just like the rest of them. Start by stirring 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture. Mix it well and then continue to stir in only white flour, a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together in one mass and looks like you could handle it without it sticking to your hands too much. Dust some flour onto a clean work surface and dump the dough onto it. Knead the dough to perfection. You’ll continue to add white flour as you work it. Don’t add too much! It is OK to have the dough on the looser side. After a few minutes have passed and the dough no longer aggressively sticks to your hands and it has become wonderfully smooth and elastic, scrape out the bowl you mixed it in, swirl some olive oil in it, and put the dough back in there. Flip it once so that both sides are oiled, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
This is what I put on my pizza tonight and it was good:
shredded mozzarella, plus maybe a little cheddar and parmesan
roasted Serrano chilis
sautéed mushrooms with fresh parsley and a little salt (Enough so that you can eat most of them and still have some left to top your pizza. Know thyself.)
thinly sliced onion
your favorite tomato sauce (If your tomato sauce is not good, your pizza will not be good.)
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a pizza pan or a cookie sheet and ever so gently, like it is the most important thing you’ll do all evening, dump the risen dough onto your work surface and stretch it evenly to fit your pan. Put it onto the pan. Put your chosen tomato sauce, cheeses, and toppings on the dough. If you’d like to go the extra mile here you might try basting the crust with olive oil and then sprinkling some parmesan cheese on it. Sprinkle whatever herbs you like on top of everything else (basil, parsley, oregano or black pepper) and throw the whole mess into the oven for 10-20 minutes. Bake the pizza until the crust and cheese are deeply browned and your whole house smells like you’ve just done something beautiful. If the pizza is watery in the center because you loaded it up with so many toppings, just let it set for a few minutes out of the oven before you cut into it. Ideally, the addition of the shredded zucchini to the crust will make it perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Eat some of the pizza, but not before you have fully experienced it otherwise by smelling, photographing, gazing upon and listening to it. Share some of it with whoever is around. In the morning you can re-heat a slice in the toaster and put a fried egg on top. If you put an egg on it you can call it breakfast. You may especially call it breakfast if you have coffee too.