Garlicky Kale Pizza
We all have our weaknesses. Some foods inspire an insatiable hunger slash lack of control. (And some foods are even designed to do just that.)
Paula and I invented/discovered this pizza a few weeks ago and — although it says below that it “serves four” — we practically polished off the whole thing, just the two of us.
Not that this is a quality you should look for in your food, but rarely have I felt such little control in the face of something that I’ve cooked myself.
Lack of control when facing down an open bag of Cheetos? Yes. Orange flavored tic tacs? Also yes. A homemade dinner that’s at least 50% kale? There’s a first time for everything.
Paula works full time AND goes to classes at night. So as a full-time graduate student, I have a lot more unstructured time to waste on the internet than she does (and a lot of that time is “wasted” reading food blogs).
I feel bad that she doesn’t have as much internet downtime as I do, but I know that someday the tables might be turned… And in the meantime, I constantly rub it in by e-mailing her about 10 times a day with links or thoughts or recipes, usually with a subject line like: “we have to try this!”
Once she finally gets the chance to read them, she files the recipe e-mails away and we try them eventually, maybe several months later or… never. It’s only the rare recipe that we rush to make immediately.
(I also save recipes I want to try in my Pepperplate account; the ones I send to Paula usually involve some sort of yeasted baking, which is really her department.)
Earlier this month, I had a little recipe epiphany, and I wasn’t even reading a food blog when it happened! I wrote to Paula:
Subject line: sorry so many e-mails…
“i am in the middle of writing an e-mail to my [dissertation] committee, but i just wanted to send you this before i forgot — a recipe idea i want to make soon, maybe for the blog:
garlicky kale pizza, where we cook kale with garlic like usual, then put it on a pizza over sauce but under cheese!”
She wrote back from work, “OMG YUM.” So that settled it: this was a make-immediately situation.
I’d been envisioning a saucy, tomato-y pizza, with the garlicky kale sandwiched in there, under some melted mozzarella, but Paula had a
different better idea: white pizza! After all, white pizzas are at their best when they are garlicky, and when it comes to garlic, this pizza means business.
Paula even begged me to title this post “Destroy All Vampires Pizza.”
I’ve enjoyed the occasional super-garlicky delivery pizza, with whole cloves scattered over the pizza and smushed onto the top. Garlic cloves baked onto pizza get charred yet almost creamy; they taste amazing and you certainly wouldn’t have any issues with vampires, but those pizzas are just a little too potent for me… especially after the fact when you have garlic breath for the next 48 hours.
This pizza uses a different strategy — the one Paula dreamed up. The pizza dough is brushed with a quick garlic-infused olive oil. So there’s really only 2-3 cloves of garlic on each pizza, but with the help of a little salt and chili flakes, it tastes like so much more. (The kale’s also been sauteed/steamed in olive oil and garlic, so that helps.)
A little freshly grated Parmesan acts as the glue between the kale and the crispy pizza crust, and it’s all dotted with goat cheese, which gets just a little bit melty as it weighs down the kale.
We tried all this out on a new-to-us recipe for pizza crust, from Deborah Madison. The crust has a mix of white and whole wheat flours, with a nice crumb that puffs around the edges, whether you shape the dough by hand or with a rolling pin — and it’s sturdy enough to stand up to all of the toppings.
The first time we made this, we were both blown away by how good it was. I kept eating it far past the point of fullness, even after the pizza got cold.
Paula went into another room to skype with friends right after dinner, and that left me alone with the pizza. I very carefully cut myself just one more small piece, brought it over to the couch, and opened my laptop. A minute later, I found myself walking back into the kitchen to get one more little piece. And then I did that at least five more times.
But, like I said, this recipe is 50% kale, and 100% delicious, so I have no regrets. I just have garlic breath.
Print this recipe. (PDF)
Garlicky Kale Pizza
(Pizza Dough adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.)
(Makes two 12-14″ pizzas; serves 4)
Active time: 1 hour; Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes.
Pizza Dough Ingredients:
~ 2 tsp. active dry yeast
~ 1½ cups warm water
~ 2½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup reserved for kneading
~ 1 cup whole wheat flour
~ 1½ tsp. salt
~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil (for cooking the kale)
~ 1 clove garlic, minced (for the kale)
~ 2 bunches curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
~ ⅓ cup water
~ ⅓ cup olive oil
~ 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. chili flakes
~ 1½ tsp. sea salt (or 1 tsp. kosher salt)
~ 1½ -2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan (a heaping cup)
~ 4-5 oz. goat cheese
~ pine nuts, to sprinkle over the pizza (after adding the kale)
How to make it:
1. Make the pizza dough: Stir the yeast into the warm water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, combine flours and salt. Add olive oil, then add foamy yeast and water and mix with a rubber spatula until the flour is fully hydrated. Sprinkle some of the reserved flour onto a clean surface, and turn out dough onto the flour. Knead for 8 minutes, adding flour as you go, as necessary. The dough should be wet, but not too sticky. Spray a large bowl with some olive oil and add the ball of dough. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
2. Once the dough has risen for 35 minutes, put a pizza stone in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 500 degrees. Once it’s risen for 45 minutes, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With a dough scraper, cut dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into a large circle — I used a rolling pin as well as just stretching it out by hand. Par-bake each crust, one at a time, on the pizza stone for 5 minutes.
3. While the dough is rising, prepare the kale. To cook kale, warm 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large stockpot over very low heat, add the 1 clove garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then start adding the chopped kale. There will likely be too much kale to fit in the stockpot at first, so stir the kale to coat it in olive oil, then cover the pot for a minute or two, before stirring again, and adding a little more kale. Repeat for about 5 minutes, until you’ve fit it all in. Then add ⅓ cup water and increase the heat just a bit (but still keep it pretty low). Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, lifting the lid to stir several times while cooking, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
4. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the ⅓ cup olive oil over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, then add the minced garlic, chili flakes, and salt and heat, stirring, for 2 more minutes (the garlic should sizzle but don’t let it turn brown or burn). Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
5. Once the first pizza crust has been par-baked, use a pastry brush to spread half of the olive oil mixture across the dough, making sure to evenly distribute the minced garlic. Sprinkle half of the grated Parmesan over the dough, then top with half of the kale. (It’s fine if the kale still has a little moisture on it from steaming in the stockpot, since that will keep it from getting too charred or crumbly when the pizza goes back into the oven.) Distribute half of the goat cheese over the top of the pizza. Then return to the oven for 7-8 minutes (check on it earlier, since ovens can vary). Repeat with the second pizza. Serve warm.
Print this recipe! (PDF)
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