This would be our second time enjoying this year’s greens from our garden – spinach & Swiss chard. It’s also the second variation of this pizza… but small changes can make a big difference!
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This pizza was fresh and delicious, a great option for the summer. Even though the greens star in this pizza, the plum sauce is the supporting ingredient that gives it an unexpected flare that truly sets this pizza apart from others. Here is what you’ll need.
1 ¹/3 cups warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
3 ½+ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 scant tablespoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons ground flax seed
ingredients on top :
baby bella mushrooms
Here are the guidelines…
Before you get to mixing your dough prepare your spices. In a small frying pan, dry toast 1 scant tablespoon cumin seeds with 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper. Cut down on the crushed red pepper if you don’t want the crust to be spicy – half that amount will give it just a hint of spice across the 2 pizzas. Shake your pan over the heat and toast slightly until your cumin browns slightly – don’t burn it!
Mix your dough by hand or with a stand mixer. Start with 1¹/3 cup warm water and add 2¼ teaspoons of dry active yeast (one packet). Let it rest for a moment. Add 1 tablespoon salt, 3 tablespoons ground flax seed, about a tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and your toasted spices. Mix in 3½ cups flour; you may need to add more if your dough is too wet, just add a small amount at a time and mix until the dough can form into a nice ball. Let it sit for about fifteen minutes while you prepare your toppings.
We cut down all the chard and spinach ready to be used in the garden and then I added a few handfuls of arugula to the mix as well to bulk it up. I don’t have an exact amount of the greens we used. My logic suggests that more greens are better. While you’re preparing these greens it will feel like there is too much but once you slightly sauté them, they will be much more manageable. You’ll wish you had even more.
Start with the Swiss chard. Slice out the center stem and chop it into small pieces, place them in a small bowl and set aside. Gather up the leafy parts of the chard and roll lengthwise, chop into ribbons. Do the same with the spinach. Place each chopped green in its own bowl. Keep them separate so it is easy to cook them at the appropriate time. Toss a few handfuls of arugula in with the spinach – no need to chop.
Gather up your basil – we picked a lot from our little plant. I happen to love the flavor of basil so I wasn’t concerned with having too much. Chop up as much as you think is reasonable or available. We also chopped up a few baby peppers that had fallen from in the garden – the Hungarian hot yellow pepper, and yes, even though it was just a baby it was very spicy! Can’t wait to try the big ones, they’re really getting huge right now!
Chop mushrooms, we used an 8 oz. package of baby bella mushroom. This is a nice amount to stretch across two pizzas, it’s a lot… a lot delicious. Once they are sliced add a few spoonfuls of plum sauce to coat. I didn’t measure this out I just added a few spoonfuls and mixed it up so the mushrooms were lightly coated with the sauce but not drenched in it. This just adds a new element to the pizza, a little bit of sweetness. I got this idea from my friend Alegra; we made a similar pizza a few months back and coated shiitake mushrooms with plum sauce – I thought this idea was brilliant and was very pleased with the results, it’s not something that I had ever considered doing before. I think in this case it works really nicely as well.
Instead of sauce we used an oil flavored with a bit of garlic and spice. Crush or chop two cloves of garlic. In a very small frying pan add half of the garlic to about 4 tablespoons olive oil and slowly cook over warm/low heat. This will mellow the garlic and flavor the oil – I also add a dash of our pepper powder for an extra little kick. We use a pan designed to fry one egg, it’s actually something we use quite often. It’s very useful for frying spices or small amounts of oil, I use it just about every time I cook with garlic because I can’t eat fresh garlic without feeling a little ill (although I do love the flavor). While your garlic oil is cooking keep an eye on it to avoid the bits from burning. Remove from heat for a moment if it starts getting too hot or bubbly. This can stay on the stove top until you’re ready to use it.
In a large pan add a splash of oil and toss in the remainder of the garlic. Sauté for a moment over low heat and include the Swiss chard stems. They are very tough so you’ll want to sauté them until they are tender. This will take a few minutes. Once the stems are tender, add the Swiss chard leaves and toss it around. Allow it to wilt sightly. Add the spinach and arugula and remove it from the burner. The heat of the chard will wilt the rest of the greens enough. We don’t want to completely wilt them, just enough to tame them – that way we’ll be able to fit more greens on the pizza, it will be easier to top!
Prepare 2 sheet pans by buttering or oiling the surface. Our sheet pans are about 12 x 15. Cut the dough in 2 pieces. We use a dough cutting tool, it’s awesome for cutting dough as well as scraping and scooping chopped ingredients off the cutting board, we just love it. Roll out the dough to be thin and about the size of your cookie sheets. My mom gave us a new silicone rolling pin last week for a house warming gift. It’s great; we’ve been wanting a rolling pin of this shape for quite sometime. The silicone feature is nice because the flour sticks to the pin and the dough rolls right off. Really great gift, we’ll be using it a lot this year – thanks mom!
Get ready to top! I like to top both pizzas at the same time so I can evenly distribute the ingredients. Making pizza is great in this way because you can always make it work with what you have – have more? add more! have less? add less! It’s easy to adapt and hard to mess up.
Start by brushing the garlic oil onto the rolled out dough. Brush all the way to the edges. Give it a nice coat but don’t create oil pools. Adding a lightly flavored oil will really enhance this super flavorful dough.
Next add the greens. Sometimes when they’re wilted they clump together. Spread them out as best you can.
Fill in the blanks with the plum sauced mushrooms.
Sprinkle with basil and any other extra ingredients you might like to include, in our case we scattered the little Hungarian hot pepper bits.
Finish it off with shredded smoked gouda cheese.
Bake at 450° for about 15 minutes. Check it towards the end of it’s baking time and remove the pizza once it’s slightly browned and crispy.
This pizza is extra delicious. With out using a red sauce and by including lots of greens, the pizza feels very fresh and light. Great for dinner, lunch, or a snack!
Surprise your guests with a hint of plum sauce and loads of nutrients.