Sunday, September 25, 2011

Swiss Chard Pizza

So...I didn't take any pictures. None. It had been a long day. I took a two hour standardized test in the afternoon. I was hungry. But it was so delicious, I just couldn't not share.

 I mean, you know what pizza looks like. You can look at that picture of Swiss chard and envision is sauteed with garlic, sweet red pepper and a tiny bit of minced fresh cayenne pepper. Then you can go a step further and imagine it covering a pizza crust, golden brown at the edges, poking out from underneath a layer of melted, slightly bubbling, apple wood-smoked mozzarella. You know I need to give you this recipe even if there are no actual pictures of the pizza.

As you may recall from the last time I shared a pizza recipe with you, D and I tend to like very different toppings on our pizzas. I like green things, he likes barbecue chicken. So on pizza nights, I make one batch of dough for a small pizza, and we divide it into two personal pizza-sized lumps of dough. His topped with some of this barbecue sauce, some seitan, onion, garlic and cilantro. Light on the mozzarella, heavy on the Parmesan. Mine topped with chard, sweet red pepper, olive oil and garlic. Mozzarella, but no Parmesan. Pizzas cook quickly enough, so this is a great solution for us (and maybe even for those of you out there with picky eaters who are actually under 30, or, you know, under 12). I'm giving you the recipe for the personal size pizza, but the recipe is easily doubled to use all of the dough.

We did, however, have one topping in common besides the usual garlic and cheese. I got brave last night and decided to poach some rubber gloves from our first aid kit and cut up a bit of one of the Joe's long cayenne peppers and add it to our pizzas. I know how hot commercially grown cayenne peppers are, but I had no clue what to expect from this heirloom variety. I chopped up a tiny bit (like a teaspoon). It didn't add much heat, so next time I'm going to add more. From some internet research it seems that this variety of cayenne pepper has a little less heat than what you normally get in the stores, but is still pretty hot. Next time I'll definitely add more. If you can't get a hold of this variety of pepper, any chopped red chili will do. Or some crushed red pepper flakes. But we're in the middle of pepper season and the markets are overflowing. So why would you do that?

Swiss Chard Pizza
one recipe for pizza dough, divided in half
about a half a bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped, leaves cut into ribbons
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 of a red bell pepper, chopped (roasted red pepper would probably be even better)
1 tsp minced Joe's long cayenne pepper (make sure to wear gloves), some of the ribs removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 oz smoked mozzarella, sliced
olive oil

While your dough is rising, heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped chard stems to the pan. Saute for a few minutes, or until beginning to soften a bit. Add the garlic and sweet pepper. Cook until the pepper is beginning to soften a bit. Add the chard, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until it has completely collapsed (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 500 with your pizza stone inside (if you don't have a pizza stone, a baking sheet works just fine) and the bottom rack in the lowest position possible.

Once the dough has risen completely, roll out half of the dough into a 9" pizza, reserving the other half for a different pizza that day, or wrapping it tightly and putting it in the fridge for 2-3 days, the freezer for longer. (I tend to do this on a sheet of parchment, because I ruined a pizza stone with my lack-luster pizza peel skills). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, top with the chard, then the cheese, then the hot pepper. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Bake for about 10 minutes, but check after 7. The cheese should be melted and the bottom of the pizza should be golden brown.

Serves 1

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