Monday, May 9, 2011

Potato, Olive and Caper Pizza with Silken Tofu Sauce

Halfway through a lazy Saturday and a glass of iced tea on the porch, we started brainstorming some dinner ideas.

It went like this: "hey, what about pizza" - "okay, yes."

Brainstorming complete, we conceived of a pizza pie in our heads and set about to the task.

I had been leafing through How to Cook Everything Vegetarian because I have a recurring dream where Mark Bittman and I are stranded on an island together and we make earnest-yet-wry observations about everything. Like, maybe we'll eat a couple of these coconuts. Maybe a couple of coconuts would be nice.

Anyway, in the pizza section, I read: you can just put silken tofu on a pizza.

Memories of a tasty tofu-based artichoke dip burbled up, and my pizza muse sang true and clear: a singular vision of a pizza sauce, complete and savory appeared, as if in a dream.

We got our dough ready: Pizza dough is super unforgiving if you are not some kind of weird Napolitana fetishist.

I like to proof about a tablespoon of yeast (which I get in big Red Star bricks from Costco for some negligible price) in a cup of water as hot as my faucet can make it with a tablespoon of sugar. I use organic, certified vegan, carbon-neutral unrefined evaporated cane juice because of guilt issues that are best left unexamined.

You whisk this all together with a cup of bread flour (I use Gold Medal All Trumps, again, from Costco), and then go watch the first twenty minutes of an episode of The Closer with your wife.

When it burbles up, then stir in a hefty pinch of salt and a hearty glug of olive oil and stir with a dough whisk. This is a transformative piece of kitchen equipment for me - I am overly skeptical when it comes to kitchen devices, but this is like, the best six dollars you're ever going to spend on a kitchen tool.

Eventually, you're going to have around two and a half cups of flour in that cup of water, but the amount of flour you add depends on the heat, humidity, phases of moon, etc., so add a cup of flour, stir, then add a quarter cup of flour, stir, and then knead in the flour a couple of tablespoons at a time until it's smooth and wonderful.

Set this aside in a warm bowl swirled with the smallest drop of oil you can manage to pour out of your economy-sized Costco bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

In two hours, you've got dough; make a pizza with it.

Meanwhile, I simmered a couple of yukon gold potatoes in water until they were tender, and set them aside to cool.

When it's pizza time in the P.M., turn your oven on as hot as it will go (likely 500 F).

I used to have an unglazed quarry tile like a total bread snob, but I've become addled in my old age and anyway it cracked and I can't find one at the hardware store here so whatever, I use a pizza pan.

Spray on some cooking spray, dust with cornmeal and set aside.

I sliced up some black olives, spooned out some capers, and sliced up the potatoes.

Next: the sawse.

  • 1 block soft silken tofu
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • pinch red chile flakes
  • hefty pinch oregano
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp onion powder (I use toasted granulated from Penzey's)
  • 8-13 grinds black pepper
  • hefty pinch salt (to taste)
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • glug of olive oil

whiz this up in the food processor.

Okay, so, you stretch out a pie, shmear on half of this mixture, top with toppings, sprinkle with thyme, pepper, and salt, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. Pull it out, slice it, and sprinkle with some walnut parmezan.

It was incredible.

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