May 21, 2018
This is about...
PIZZA! with a Cauliflower Crust---YUM!
cauliflower pizza 6620.png
        EVEN THOUGH CAULIFLOWER IS ALL THE RAGE TODAY , it was hardly popular when I was growing up. IN FACT, I DON’T EVER REMEMBER EATING ANY OF IT UNTIL I WAS WELL INTO MY 20’S. But now, I’ve definitely made up for lost time. “EAT LESS STARCH” is one of my current mantras. SO GRAINS AND POTATOES ARE ABSENT FROM MY DINNER PLATE. And in their place?--- CAULIFLOWER. I use this plain jane veggie as a substitute for mashed potatoes or rice. Finely ground and steamed, it stands in as bread crumbs. And then there’s my favorite way—as a pizza crust.
        It’s taken some research and a few tries to get it to work. Most recipes can crumble as you pick up a slice—that’s a fail for me. If I’m calling it pizza, then it better act like pizza!
        There are 2 rules to follow to get this crust to work. 1. KEEP THE MOISTURE TO A STRICT MINIMUM. That means making sure to squeeze out ALL of the moisture in the steamed cauliflower. The drier the better. And, the same goes for the tomato sauce. Use a tomato sauce that’s very thick. Homemade or jarred will work, but if it has a watery consistency, you will want to cook it down for 10-15 minutes to thicken it, making it almost jam-like.
2. YOU NEED AN EXTRA EGG TO ACT AS THE GLUE. A lot of recipes add cheese to the crust, but that stops the eggs from holding the crust together. We’ll leave that for the topping.
        As far as toppings go, IT’S PIZZA! Proceed with any or all you always use to make it your own—meatballs, pepperoni, cooked crumbled sausage, minced garlic, sliced bell peppers or onions and on and on and on. THE PLUS HERE IS THAT IT’S ONE OF THOSE PALEO RECIPES TOO—not a grain to be had, but you won’t miss it.
        More good news. The Environmental Working Group, famous for their Dirty Dozen List, also released their 2018 Clean 15 List with the fruits and vegetables containing the lowest levels of pesticide residues detected in federal testing. CAULIFLOWER IS #14!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Cut the cauliflower in 4ths. That way it will be easier to cut the core out and remove the leaves. Then cut up into large chunks.
2. A food processor to finely grind up the cauliflower is best, but an OK alternative is the large holes of a box grater.
3. When I say squeeze out all of the moisture from the cauliflower, I mean it.
4. A good jarred spaghetti sauce will work great. Just simmer it for about 10-15 minutes to make it thicker first.
5. To make it well done, you can turn on the broiler for the last minute or 2—just keep an eye on it so the parchment doesn’t burn. But I don’t ever need it.

Cauliflower-Crust PIZZA!
(inspired by Shira Lenchewski, “The Food Therapist”)

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and green leaves removed
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ to 3/4 cup very thick tomato sauce, jarred or homemade, cooked down to make it thicker, if necessary.
5-6 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Basic toppings:
freshly grated parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly—an absolute must for me
red pepper flakes
dried oregano
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
anything you like!

Make the pizza:
        Place the rack in the upper 3rd of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
        Cut the cauliflower in chunks and put in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until very, very fine. Or, you can hand grate it through the large holes of a box grater. Steam on top of the stove for 10-15 minutes until tender. You can also place it in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 5 to 10 minutes until very tender.
        Dump it onto a kitchen towel and let it cool down enough to handle. Twist inside the towel to squeeze out all, and I mean all, of the water. Alternatively, you can squeeze out the liquid in small batches with your hands. You should have about 1 ¼ cups.
        Transfer the very dry cauliflower into a medium-size bowl. Stir in the eggs, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour this mixture onto the sheet pan and press into a large, thin circle—roughly 12” in diameter. To fit on my pan, I end up with an 11” x 13” oval.
        Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes. It should feel firm to the touch, dry and starting to brown. Remove it from the oven, and evenly spread the tomato sauce on top, within about an half an inch of the edge. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, the parmesan and oregano. This is the time to add any other toppings. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan once half way through, until the cheese has browned. During the last minute or so, if you want it crisper, you can turn on the broiler. Watch the oven to make sure the cheese doesn’t burn (and the parchment doesn’t catch on fire), occasionally rotating the pan to evenly heat the crust.
        Remove from the oven and sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese, thinly sliced fresh basil leaves( an absolute must for me) and/or dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Makes one 12 inch pizza.      YUM!
Would LOVE to hear from YOU! Leave your COMMENT below.