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.
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.
Serves 2 as a main course
- 1 head cauliflower, florets only
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- two (hearty) pinches crushed red pepper flake
- 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)
- Place a pizza stone in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small sauté pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until lightly caramelized. Set aside.
- 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.
- Wash the cauliflower head and thoroughly dry. Remove the florets and place into a food processor.
- Pulse the florets in the food processor until it looks granular, like “snow.” It should yield about 3 cups of cauliflower snow.
- Place the cauliflower snow in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 4 minutes.
- Spread out the cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool.
- 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.
- Place the squeezed cauliflower into a bowl. Add the cheese, rosemary and red pepper flake. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the egg and mix well.
- 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.
- Using the pizza peel, slide the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone in the oven.
- Bake 10 minutes until it starts to get golden brown.
- 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.
- Slide the topped flatbread back into the oven. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from oven, slice and serve immediately or at room temperature.