Friday, April 4, 2014

The Beauty of Cauliflower Crust

Lately I have been seeing recipes for cauliflower crust pizza popping up all over Pinterest and Facebook. I have to admit that I was skeptical. Very skeptical.

I like cauliflower, but I just wasn't sure it would make for a good crust base. Yet, at the same time I was intrigued and couldn't resist giving it a try.

After scanning through my various social media time lines I settled on trying out this recipe on Tasty Kitchen by How Sweet Eats, which I think is based on this recipe on The Lucky Penny Blog.

Anyway... I tweaked a few very minor things in the recipe.  I didn't want to stray too far for my first go around. I wanted to master the process first, then I could play with it from there.

The concept is simple. Pulse a head of cauliflower in food processor until it resembles a granular "snow." Microwave the snow for just a few minutes, spread it onto a towel to cool, then wring it out really, really well. This step is SO important. Removing as much of the water as possible will give you a chewy consistency to the crust, instead of a crumbly one. Then, mix in the binders for the crust, which in this case were cheese and egg. Again, this step is important. I think this is what really holds it all together.

As I spread the "dough" onto the pizza peel I thought it actually didn't look half bad. This might actually work.

When it came time for the toppings, I went completely non-traditional. Instead of sauce and cheese I did a base of caramelized onions with shaved raw Brussels sprouts, thin strips of prosciutto, freshly shredded fontina cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


The result? It held together perfectly and made a wonderful, flavorful yet subtle base for my toppings. Definitely making it again.

With all that said though, I still refuse to call it pizza, even if it is topped with sauce and cheese. Maybe it's my Italian roots, but it's not pizza. I will however settle on the term flatbread, a delicious flatbread.

Cauliflower Flatbread with Shaved Brussels Sprout
(every so lightly adapted from The Lucky Penny Blog)
Serves 2 as a main course

Ingredients

Flatbread:
  • 1 head cauliflower, florets only
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • two (hearty) pinches crushed red pepper flake
Toppings:
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 2 pieces prosciutto cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup shredded fontina
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
Directions
  1. Place a pizza stone in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small sauté pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until lightly caramelized. Set aside.
  3. Cover a pizza peel or large cutting board with a piece of parchment paper cut slightly larger than the surface area of the board/peel.
  4. Wash the cauliflower head and thoroughly dry. Remove the florets and place into a food processor.
  5. Pulse the florets in the food processor until it looks granular, like "snow." It should yield about 3 cups of cauliflower snow.
  6. Place the cauliflower snow in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Spread out the cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool.
  8. Once cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. This ensures a chewy crust as opposed to a crumbly one.
  9. Place the squeezed cauliflower into a bowl. Add the cheese, rosemary and red pepper flake. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the egg and mix well.
  11. Use your hands to form the dough into a crust on the parchment lined pizza peel. Gently pat it down to about a third of an inch thick.
  12. Using the pizza peel, slide the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone in the oven.
  13. Bake 10 minutes until it starts to get golden brown.
  14. Keeping the crust still on the parchment paper, top with the caramelized onions, prosciutto strips, shaved Brussels sprouts and fontina cheese. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil.
  15. Slide the topped flatbread back into the oven. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven, slice and serve immediately or at room temperature.
Yum



Now that I have the process down pat, I think the sky is the limit in terms ways to serve it. Have you ever made cauliflower crust? What do you think of it?
Photos by Renato Ghio
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1 comment

  1. This looks great, we will definitely have to try your version. I've had success with this don't-dare-call-it-pizza-crust-crust especially with white pies.

    ReplyDelete

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