This week’s CSA challenge was less challenging than expected, despite a couple of potential roadblocks including my being away from home for an entire day, me having to adjust my cooking style for a houseguest who loathes tofu and lentils, and us eating out a lot with said houseguest. Nonetheless, I cooked the squash up in the first few days – and discovered a few new recipes I can use to get through it all – and have spent the last few days eating leftovers and using up a few remaining ingredients.
Surprisingly, kale is one of them! I got two bunches at the CSA and expected they’d go quickly: it is one of my favorite things to eat, after all. And though I diligently added kale to nearly everything I ate, when I sat down to think about today’s lunch I found a bunch and a half languishing in the fridge. Thought one: jeez, I’ve been eating kale all week. We must be getting awfully big bunches. Thought two: Yay! Now I can make kale pizza again!
I invented this recipe a few weeks ago when I only had kale, sundried tomatoes, and mozzarella in the fridge. I wanted to make pizza, but was skeptical about making it without a tomato sauce. And all the white pizza recipes I saw seemed to require more than one cheese, which I didn’t have. I forged ahead anyway, my hunger pushing me along, and ended up with the following recipe. It’s becoming a go-to meal for me and Alex, and he smiled with glee when I told him what we’d be eating for lunch today. Hopefully you’ll try it and it’ll make you smile, too.
*pizza’s my own, but crust is credit to smittenkitchen
Pizza Crust Ingredients:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp active dry yeast (I find that one packet is enough)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 TBL olive oil
roughly 1/4 cup diced sundried tomatoes (I make them pretty small squares)
2 cups packed kale (I strongly favor the curly kind), rinsed and spun dry
8oz ball mozzarella, the fresher the better
a couple TBL olive oil
2 cloves garlic
First, make the crust – it requires about an hour of rest time, so you need to plan ahead! Combine the dry ingredients, stirring, and then add the water and olive oil. With a spatula, stir gently until combined. Then turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for a couple minutes, until the ingredients come together and you can make a ball.
Spray the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil, and put the ball of dough back in. Cover the plastic wrap and set in a warm place, for about an hour or until it doubles in bulk. Turn out onto the floured counter and gently press the air out of the dough, form it back up into a ball, place back into the bowl, cover with the wrap, and let site for 20 min. This is the point at which I preheat the oven (roughly 425*F) and begin prepping all the topping ingredients. It might take a few more or a few less than 20min to do so, but I’m not concerned with being that precise.
First, put a couple TBL olive oil in a small bowl with the minced garlic, then set aside. Chop the kale into bite-sized pieces, and then make sure the sundried tomatoes are chopped. Thinly slice the ball of mozzarella so you have as many circles of cheese as you can manage. Finally, sprinkle your pizza stone with cornmeal.
Now you’re ready to roll out the crust and dress the pizza. I find that I have very little trouble rolling out this dough, but I’m also always careful to flour the counter and to pick up the dough and flip it over from time to time. I’m pretty sure that this prevents it from sticking. Roll out the dough to just over 12″. Again, I’m not precise – but it is important to me that the dough fit on my pizza stone, so my personal rule of thumb is to never roll it bigger than that. Once the pizza is rolled out, transfer it to your pizza stone.
Get a pastry brush and use it to brush the surface of the dough with the olive oil/garlic mixture, leaving about an inch around the edges. Lay the kale inside the olive oil circle. It’s ok if it seems a little thick and piled up – it’ll wilt down. Sprinkle with a small handful of the sundried tomatoes, top with the cheese, and then put the rest of the sundried tomatoes on top. That’s it – now it’s oven time. I cook mine until the cheese is browned, just on the verge of being burnt. Maybe about 10min? I’m not sure – so check it every 5, I suppose. That’s what I do.
In any case, you’ll find that the kale wilts down and becomes tender, except where the cheese didn’t cover it – in which case it becomes crispy and crunchy. The sundried tomatoes provide a pop of sweetness, and the crust is just the right kind of hearty and bready to match well with strongly flavored greens. Enjoy!