Monday, November 29, 2010

Caesar Salad Pizza

Caesar salad is my number one favorite kind of salad. It's usually pretty consistent on the toppings and the wonderful flavor of the dressing is amazing, too. I have made other pizza crusts before but this one is very doughy and tastes just like bread you would serve with a normal side caesar salad. It's not like my deep dish pizza crust or anything close to it. I did roll these crusts out thinner because they looked too thick compared to the picture on the website. They did, however rise a little more than I would have hoped so I will probably make them even thinner next time. Don't be afraid to roll the dough thinner than you normally like it; it will turn out perfect! Also, feel free to add or omit toppings you like on your salads. I added chicken to make this a more wholesome dinner.

Caesar Salad Pizza
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally The Pastry Queen

For the crust:
1 ½ cups warm water
5 tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 tsp honey
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¾ cup coarse cornmeal
freshly shredded parmesan cheese

For assembly:
Caesar dressing
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
garlic croutons
Parmesan shavings

To make the crust, combine the water, yeast, oil, honey and 3 cups flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the salt and red pepper flakes. Mix on low speed until combined. Add 1 more cup of the flour and mix until soft. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes to knead. Add the rest of the flour 1-2 Tablespoons at a time (as needed) until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.

Coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil (or preheat a pizza stone, unoiled). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle baking sheet(s) with cornmeal. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (use only those needed, freeze the rest in plastic wrap and a ziploc bag). Cover the dough with a damp towel and let sit for 10 minutes, until the oven heats up.
With a rolling pin, flatten dough ball into 10-inch circle on well-floured surface. Brush each dough with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or stone and bake until lightly golden and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

To assemble the salad, combine lettuce, tomatoes and dressing (as desired) in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat evenly and place a generous amount on cooked, warm pizza crust. Top with parmesan cheese and croutons as desired.

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