Thursday, July 12, 2012

cauliflower and gruyere pizza.

I have a strong affinity towards recreating the dishes I eat at restaurants.  If something I eat intrigues my palate, I love to analyze the dish, try and figure out all the components, and then go home and see if I can make my own version.  Some versions end up as disasters and some end up as almost perfect replicas, but the process of dissecting and studying a dish is fun for me – it makes me feel like a food detective! 

This weekend I set out to make the cauliflower pizza I’ve had from Grandaisy Bakery many times (it’s called Pizza Calvofiore, so Italian!).   It is a wonderful mix of cauliflower, Gruyere, breadcrumbs, and parsley for some freshness.  I doctored my version up a bit by roasting the cauliflower with some red pepper flakes to give the dish a little heat.  I also used a combination of Gruyere and Pecorino Romano to bring a little extra cheesiness to the dish (I heart cheese a lot) and I sprinkled the pies with a combination of basil and parsley since I tend to put basil on everything in the summer.  The pie turned out super – crispy and crunch from the roasted cauliflower but there was a still a good amount of creaminess from the cheese.  It was a very good interpretation of the original version that made me and the boy very happy.

Cauliflower and Gruyere Pizza

I cut my cauliflower into too large of pieces.  When I make this again I will cut it into a small dice (maybe ¼ inch pieces), I think it would lead to a more roasted and caramelized pizza topping.  But, if you like a softer, less crunchy cauliflower, larger pieces are the way to go!

1 small head of cauliflower, diced into ¼ or ½ inch pieces
1 – 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound Gruyere, shredded
¼ cup Pecorino Romano, shredded
¼ cup packed parsley and basil, sliced
Salt and Pepper
½ recipe of Pizza Dough

Preheat over to the highest it can go (in my case its 500 degrees).  Put pizza stone in the oven to heat up.  In a large bowl combine your diced cauliflower, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place cauliflower on a large baking pan and roast about 15-20 minutes, just until the cauliflower is beginning to turn lightly brown.  Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

Stretch your pizza dough on a floured countertop.  Remove your pizza stone from the oven and quickly place the dough on top.  Top the dough with a quarter of the Gruyere and half the cauliflower mixture.  Top cauliflower with another quarter of the Gruyere and half the Pecorino Romano.  Place pizza in the oven.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and the cauliflower is just beginning to char.  Remove pie from the oven and top with half the basil and parsley mixture.   Repeat process with remaining dough.

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