‘Can pizza ever be healthy?‘, you may be wondering, as I also did once upon a time. But being a normal human being, I absolutely adore the occasional pleasure of a salty, thin, crispy pizza with fresh basil and authentic Italian ingredients topping it off! However it’s a rare treat as I know a large pizza can easily amount to 1000+ calories, and relatively empty ones at that. SOLUTION TIME! Amazon challenged me to whip up something summery and healthy but with an indulgent touch, as part of their #NowItsSummer campaign, and I picked up that gauntlet with gusto; Pizza it was to be! In this post, I’ve experimented with a ‘healthier’ dough-base equivalent in the form of cauliflower and sourced my own high-quality toppings to complement it. The production process was a total blast, and the result is way tastier and easier-to-make than it sounds – plus it forms a delicious crust foundation to house the topping of your choice. For me, that’s anchovies (deliciousness plus the added benefit of some omega fatty acids and protein), some low-fat-high-protein cheese, some flax, tomatoes and veggies, some fresh basil and rocket, and we’re in business! Click MORE to get the full recipe and whip up something special for the next time you have some friends round!
What did I need for the occasion? The key piece of ceremonial kit is rather hard to miss from my photos; it’s the La Hacienda Wood Burning Pizza oven, and it’s just a striking piece of art! Today it’s my ‘pizza companion’, but I plan to put it through its paces for fish, vegetables, and even dessert purposes too. Whilst beautiful, it’s not cheap, so an alternative would be THIS model. Both are in the #NowItsSummer shop on Amazon.
The fire licks up within the insulated dome, enabling the heat to spread all around with equal intensity, delivering an efficient, even bake. You can literally cook a pizza in a minute, as 500 degrees isn’t an improbable temperature.
It takes a little skill to execute this well! You need to keep an eye on the integrated thermometer and deploy the front & rear vents as well as the flue damper if things tick up too much. Patience is required in order to achieve the right temperature, and a degree of romantic ‘feel’ for when it’s right to stoke the flames, shuffle the pizza, turn it etc. This is a fabulously manual process that’s incredibly rewarding.
- Start by preheating the wooden oven using some kindling and chopped wood. (Alternatively, preheat an electric oven to 200 degrees).
- Start by removing the leaves and stems of the cauliflower and pop the cauliflower into a food processor.
- Mix the cauliflower until it becomes a consistency similar to rice. In my experience the finer the consistency, the better.
- Once ‘riced’, transfer to a large bowl and microwave for 4 minutes. Let it cool down for a few minutes before handling!
- Thereafter, put the cauliflower into a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. You’ll be surprised there’s a lot more than you may expect.
- Put the drained cauliflower into a bowl and add the eggs and flour.
- Then add the Linwoods Milled Flax Seed, the oregano, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
- At this point, either use a wooden board to fashion your base, or alternatively put some baking paper with some flour and olive oil drizzled on top; add the cauliflower mixture in the middle, forming it into what you believe to be a c. 8-10 inch diameter circle, of a thickness to your preference.
- Pop the pizza base in the wood oven for circa 5 minutes at 200 degrees. Keeping an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. It’ll cook from the outer edge, in. (Alternatively pop it in the normal oven for 10-15 mins on a similar heat, pre-heated).
- Take out the base, add the toppings and pop it back into the pizza oven for another 2 minutes or until cheese has visibly melted.
- Add some fresh rocket and other topping vegetables, and drizzle some olive oil.
– Tip: if you’re using any fresh herbs put olive oil on them or they burn. Keep an eye on the pizza as the oven is incredibly hot and can easily burn