Things are not what they seem

One of the things I miss most in my efforts to be gluten-free is pizza. Not because I love pizza so much, or ever get cravings for it. If I did, I would probably experiment with gluten-free pizza dough – the mix made by Gluten-Free Pantry is supposed to turn out quite a nice one. What I miss is the ease of it – whether it’s walking down to the corner for a slice until 2am, or picking up the phone for a pie any time at all (yes, there is 24 hour pizza delivery here in SF), or pulling one of my beloved Vicolo crusts from the freezer and filling it with caramelized onions and chard.

Zucchini-Crust Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onions

Zucchini Crust Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onions

I’ve heard rumors that Whole Foods, which has recently added an entire GF bakery section to some of its stores, carries pre-made GF pizza crusts, and maybe some day I’ll make a special trip there to check it out. (Or, since they’re threatening to put in a new Whole Foods four blocks from my house, maybe the pizza crusts will come to me!) But so far my food co-op doesn’t carry any easy GF pizza-like choices, so I figured this was one convenience food that was gone with the gluten.

Then the other day I was wandering around the internet and came across a recipe on the gluten-free vegetarian blog Book of Yum for Zucchini-crust Pizza. I’ve been getting a steady supply of zucchini in my box all summer, not enough to qualify as a backlog yet, but enough that I’ve been looking for new ways to use them up.

I modified the recipe a bit – it was a little heavy on the cheese for my tastes – and baked a pan of it. It didn’t come out crispy at all, so it wasn’t really crust-like, but it tasted good and made a nice, easy dish for breakfast or lunch, a sort of very flat, not overly rich quiche whose toppings I could vary each time. If I had used the amount of cheese called for in the original recipe it might have been crispier, but I don’t think I could have stomached a pan of it before it went bad. And of course, with any amount of cheese in it, I couldn’t count on assistance from Duck.

Here’s the recipe as I modified it. For the original, probably crispier version, check out Book of Yum.

Zucchini-Crust Pizza (modified from Book of Yum)

2 cups packed grated zucchini (about 4 small zucchini)
1 egg whites & 1 whole egg
1/4 cup GF flour (I used Gluten-Free Pantry French Bread & Pizza Dough Mix)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)
A generous amount of dried herbs (I used Herbes de Provence and basil)
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste (careful! they get hotter when they bake!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil (I would reduce this next time – it was a bit too oily)

Toppings:
My favorite version was vegan basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, and sauteed red onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Oil and flour a pan. (From Book of Yum: If you want a thinner crust, use a pizza pan with slightly raised edges. If you want a thicker crust, it’s ok to use a jelly roll man or pie pan.) I used a brownie pan.

Mix together zucchini, eggs, flour, cheeses, herbs, and olive oil.

Bake until golden brown. (Cooking time will depend on thickness of crust, but around 35-40 minutes.)

Remove from oven when done, let rest and cool for 10 minutes and then carefully loosen from pan with your favorite spatula. You may need to cut into slices to remove without breaking.

Top with whatever you like on your pizza and bake at 400 degrees (or 350) until cheese is melted and golden brown but crust doesn’t burn.

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