Courgette and almond flatbread pizza

September 28, 2009

Friday night in with a DVD and persistent colds. Inspired by a courgette that had grown amok, its monstrous bulk menacing the fridge, I thought about making one of my favourite courgette dishes into a pizza topping (don’t you love how you can make anything into a pizza topping? OK… almost anything). The original recipe is from Moro East, and with the Moorish vibe in mind I went with a flatbread base, though obviously you could use a traditional pizza base – or just buy your favourite kind of flatbread for a quick version. I used the traditional mozzarella because I had most of a ball needing to be eaten, but really I think this would be delicious with feta. We made some garlic bread while we were waiting for the dough to rise and ate it with a salad of roasted beetroot and tomatoes (remember from the sweetcorn fritters?), spinach and dukkah. I wish I could tell you it cured the cold, but seriously, I’ve had this thing for well over a week. It’s an uber-cold. It pays no attention to the intake of vitamins, adequate rest, orange juice by the gallon, or max strength lemsip. Ah well: at least I still have an appetite.

A couple of other things: I upped the amount of tomatoes used because our toppings were a little on the sparse side. There is a picture but it would seriously put you off and I’m not sure you’d believe that it tasted better than it looked.

Courgette and almond flatbread pizza Serves 2-4 (2 if you’re poorly and need to keep your strength up)

For the flatbread:
225g wholemeal bread flour (or use strong white)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. dried yeast
150ml tepid water
1 tbsp olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5-10 mins – it should start to froth. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. When the yeast is ready, add the olive oil to the water, make a well in the flour and salt and pour the yeasty liquid gradually into the middle, mixing with your hands until it comes together into a kneadable ball. Add more water/flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes until it’s smooth and pliable. Put it back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours. It should double in size.

Meanwhile, make the topping:

For the courgette and tomato sauce:
500g courgettes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt + pepper

+ 30g whole almonds and 150g mozzarella or feta (depending on how cheesy you like your pizza) for the top

Slice the courgettes thinly and heat the olive oil in a big saucepan. Fry the courgettes for around 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes and most of the thyme and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until breaking down and sauce-like (you can stir and squish the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to help it along). Season well.

Assembly:
Preheat your oven to its highest setting and put a couple of baking trays in to heat up.

When the dough is ready, take it out and divide it into 2-4 balls. On a well floured surface, roll the balls into long oblong shapes. Top with the courgette and tomato sauce, then scatter with almonds, cheese and a few extra sprigs of thyme.

Take out your baking trays, flour them and arrange the pizzas on top. Put in the very hot oven 5-10 minutes until the edges are crisp and the topping looks nice and browned and pizza-like.

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