Recipe Thursday: Bread Book – Foraged Pizza

We have lived semi-rurally for a few years now and one of the first things we realized was that we could not get pizza delivery. Not only that, but there are very few choices in the area if we could. Pizza is not just pizza to me. Having a sizeable chunk of my teenage/young adult years in Southern PA/New Jersey shore has made me partial to certain foods (pizza, bagels, bread in particular – not to mention typical dishes such as -a real- Italian sub, Stromboli, the dreamy heart attack Pork Roll/Egg/Cheese, Black & White Cookies, and Portuguese or Italian hard rolls, Funnel Cake, etc) so I’m a little romantic about certain aspects. And because now that we are more interested in natural and clean foods, we can’t or don’t just eat any old thing.

With that said, we make our own pizza. Not only does Josh make a lovely fully fermented sourdough pizza dough (available again soon for customers! ask and see!) that stretches beautifully but if you cook it on an oven stone, you can get the crispness of the crust that I prefer. Pillowy in the right places, thin in others, bubbles abound. With a good sauce (or none – we love a white pizza), ingredients, cheese – we are all happy. Duende generally prefers hers pretty straight forward: extra cheese, black (and sometimes green) olives, and nitrate free pepperoni (though many times she will skip the pepperoni because she’s already eaten it all as a snack – I’m surprised we can keep olives in the house). We like to go for whatever is in the fridge or forage (we use that word for both food from the lawn, and leftover food – ha!).

Foraging is one of my favorite acts of homesteading. I love to know that my terroir is offering me something seasonal and regional that could work for us. Free food! Yes, that, too. I love to forage many of my teas (and many are grown, as well), medicines, things for savvy drinks and ades, and things to eat. I started with just one or two things I knew were safe and easy to find, and every year I have added a couple more. Even my child can look down along the side of a parking lot and find at least 3 things to eat ‘in the apocalypse’ (because sometimes, just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean you want to). But many many bits are delicious and healthy – so many bitter and oxalic greens to get your body moving in the Spring!

Josh loves when Daisy shoots and leaves are abound. I put them in Kimchi, in Saag, in Pesto – and on Pizza. Fiddleheads or Ramps on pizza is a wonderful thing. Dandelion greens work pretty good but you have to put them under the cheese or they will burn, same with any of the other tender greens of Spring like False Solomon’s Seal shoots or Evening Primrose rosettes, Cleavers, or Wild Leeks. When Summer finally peeks out, Milkweed shoots are great on pie (pizza pie, that is) with Pineapple and Ham, Lilybud shoots, as well. In the height of Summer, things like Zucchini or Yucca blossoms from the gardens with Nettle Pesto on a white pizza is delicious. And the beginnings of Fall bring Mushrooms (we’re good at Lobster and Puffball Mushrooms around here) of all kinds with frilly fronds of Goldenrod or Yarrow. There are always outside options to add to the excitement of Pizza game night (Get your Ticket to Ride or Taco vs. Burrito or Clue on!).

I wouldn’t willy-nilly eat from your yard without making sure what you have is what you can eat but it’s likely you can eat more than you think. Sam Thayer is my favorite foraging expert but there are many regional lists and sites that might suit you better. Check your foraging guides and eat well!

Foraged Pizza
for one 14″ pie

  • 1 20oz Pizza dough (thaw for a few hours, if frozen, to room temperature)
  • 1 14oz jar of Pizza sauce (we rely on Muir Glen, but you can easily make your own) or Pesto, or Alfredo sauce
  • 1 sack of Mozzarella Cheese (again, we rely on Cabot but anyone without starch is good) or for a White Pizza – sliced whole Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, or any sexy cheese you think might sound good
  • Toppings of choice: in the case of Daisy shoots – maybe 10-20 shoots, or a mix of Dandelion leaves and shoots, sliced Black Olives, Day Lily buds or shoots, sliced Cattail root, Ramps or Fiddleheads, Fiorucci Salami or leftover Ham bits, Evening Primrose leaves)
  • 1/4 cup Semolina or Medium fine Cornmeal

    Heat the oven well in advance with the stones (if using, if not use the biggest sheetpan you have) to 425 degrees. You want the oven hot when you put the pizza in. Have a rack ready in the middle of the oven.

    Make your pie! Stretch out the dough with your hands in a circle, carefully but assertively pushing and widening the circle until it is the size you prefer (and the size your stones can bake). Lay out on lightly floured surface with a scattering of Semolina or Cornmeal or onto the same for a sheetpan (yes, with a little flour and cornmeal). Add Sauce or Pesto (if using, if not, a light drizzle of Olive Oil and Sea Salt is marvelous), a bit of Cheese, scatter your Veg, add another layer of Cheese, then more Veg or Meat bits and a final layer of Cheese (doesn’t have to be so Cheese heavy, just make sure that tender bits are protected by a little Cheese so they don’t burn).

    If using oven stones, scatter a little Semolina/Cornmeal onto them right before transferring Pizza to oven. Using peel, in one swift move slide under the pie. Transferring to oven, again – using one swift shake, get the pie onto the stones (yes, this has ended badly but with practice, it can be done efficiently and easily). If using sheetpan, put it in the oven. Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on how heavy your toppings are – keep an eye on how brown you like your top crust, the lower crust should be crisp and the cheese baked. Remove from oven to a cutting surface.

    Let sit for at least 5 minutes, then slice (the rest helps everything solidify again for easy cutting and eating). Serve and Enjoy!

Published by Rachael M Rollson

creative life-learner

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