Thursday, March 17, 2011

Horseback Pizza

That's a image. Horseback pizza. In Argentina when they place a slice of faina on top of a slice of pizza, it's called pizza a caballo, which translates to horseback pizza.

Several weeks ago, my friend Samantha came to visit. We both follow a gluten-free diet and decided to check out the Me 'N Eds Pizza Parlor after seeing their ad for gluten-free Vegan pizza. Samantha didn't go vegan, but I wanted to see what they put on a vegan pizza. It turns out that you put whatever you want from their selection of toppings - a noticeably protein-free list.

When we were taking our last bites, the pizza chef appeared at our table, dusty apron, hands wringing; How Did We Like Our Pizzas? It is a new item on their list and they have been working hard to get the crust just right. Individual pizzas were their only success so far. It's so hard to get the crust baked all the way to the center on the larger sized pizzas. I've had the same problem at home. I admired the young man's enthusiasm, a real kitchen scientist, loving the challenge of the gluten-free crust.

Since that day I have been thinking about a vegan pizza with some protein. Black beans always make it into my recipes. It would be easy to make a salsa, black bean pizza. But I wanted something new. I went on-line to find some ideas using garbanzo beans and found faina.

Faina is baked in a pizza pan. For me it has potential. I am constantly looking for a bread replacement. Faina looks like it can be the base of many open-faced sandwiches in my future.

Let's get to it -
2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
(the original recipe calls for parmesan cheese)
freshly ground black pepper
2 - 2 1/2 cups water

1.  Whisk the garbanzo bean flour together with the salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, yeast and a generous amount of ground black pepper. (If you like pepper, don't be shy here. The flavor of faina is blaaaaa and really needs the black pepper in my opinion. I'm thinking other spices might be great too. Let me know what you think. Chili powder? Rosemary? Garlic powder?)

2. Whisk in 1 3/4 cup of water until well mixed. Set aside for about 1/2 hour to let the flour absorb some of the water.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan and heat in the oven until very hot.
4. Stir more water into the batter until the batter is thin enough to pour. Remove hot pizza pan from oven and pour batter into the pan. It should make a thin (1/4 inch) layer. Place in the oven an bake until the faina is golden and crispy (8-10 minutes).  (Mine isn't very crispy - I'll have to work on that.)
5. That's it. Cut into peices and serve.

I found a gluten-free pizza dough made by Ener G, the same company that makes my egg replacer.

My pizza sauce was made with the yellow cherry tomatoes I roasted and froze last fall. I threw about 2 cups of roasted cherry tomatoes, 3 cloves garlic chopped and 1/2 small onion chopped, with some salt and pepper into my blender and blended until smooth. (I have left over sauce. I must say it's very tasty and I'm glad to have the left overs - I'm thinking spagetti later this week.)

I spread the sauce over the pizza dough, sprinkled it with about 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and topped it off with a vegetable mixture I roasted:
1/2 each, red, orange and yellow bell pepper, 1/2 onion sliced, 6 big fat cloves of garlic sliced and 1 zuchinni, sliced. Roasted in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, then I turned them and sent them back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

I layered the freshly roasted vegetables on top of the pizza and put the whole thing into the oven for 20 minutes.

Oh so tasty. And with the faina - a challenge to get my mouth around. Do they put the faina on top like a sandwich, or under, like a double layer crust?  Try it both ways. I suspect the vegetables will still come tumbling out onto your plate. No way around it. 

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