I haven’t cooked sausage mummies, spider cookies, malloween ghosts and bloody apples. Even worse, I have never tried any of these Halloween recipes. I’m reluctant (isn’t this mostly a matter of food colorants?). One day, why not, I’ll do my homework and create my scary treat too. Meantime I observe what’s going on in the world of all things spooky food with a tepid interest and – just in a few cases – with awe.
I have a recipe to share with you today, it’s neither pumpkin nor Halloween related but it belongs to childhood memories and beyond any doubt it is mouthwatering and unique in taste. The escarole stuffed pizza, a workhorse of the Neapolitan cuisine with its ancient historical roots dating back to the greco-roman period. An old story that can go by the name of “cuisine of the poor”.
What I mean for cuisine of poor is a collection of unsophisticated dishes very often relying on leftovers and always on simple and easy-to-find ingredients such as cereals, legumes and vegetables. This pizza-cake, prepared with two disks of pizza dough, escarole, olives and capers, meets all the requirements: it’s a genuine budget recipe. As usual when it comes to make a dough, I’ve messed up my kitchen: the pics above are here merely to meticulously document the chaos. I may consider to add “mess” to my ingredient list :).
Didn’t I called my recipe “Kale Stuffed Pizza”? Wait a minute, where is the escarole gone?
I don’t know where it is gone. It must be hiding somewhere, my best guess is that it’s on display in Whole Foods. Now Whole Foods is in High Street Kensington, the fancy area in London where I lived for half a year and these days rather far from my comfort zone.
Middle of the week already and this dish was haunting that part of my brain devoted to food blogging (I might have developed one by now) but my bad relationship with the tube was keeping me off. I decided the only way I could make it happily was to avoid the underground trip to Kensington. So I went whole hog and opened the fridge where accidentally another green was resting. Kale, madame et monsieur, with over 45 different flavonoids, lots of antioxidant anti-inflammatory nutrients. And in my case, the advantage of keeping me away from the public transport.
With my great surprise, the replacement did not deceive. Not at all! I was in ecstasy while biting the pizza, delighted by the contrast of a crispy upper layer (that I rolled out very thin and sprayed with olive oil) and a softer thicker bottom part, tasting like warm fresh homemade sourdough bread. Both the layers of the dough were baked together at the same time and you can probably notice from the pics above the difference in consistency between them, thin and crusty the upper layer, spongy and porous the bottom one.
In between slightly stir fried curly kale, cheese (Cheddar because I can’t find the Italian provola cheese) and flavorful Kalamata olives; ingredients that are meant for each others. As always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I invite you to get some time to try out this pizza. As soon as you’re done with spooky witches’ fingers and brain cupcakes :).
p.s. This post-scriptum is for all the bloggers and ladies who commented my post with sincere words of encouragement. You gave me a few more happy smiles that day, thanks.
Italian Kale stuffed Pizza
- 2 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 cup warm water
For the filling
- 1/2 bag curly kale
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more to oil the pan
- 6-8 Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 clove garlic sliced
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese coarsely grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a cup filled with warm water add the yeast and sugar. Stir and wait at least 15 minute until the surface becomes foamy. In a bigger bowl place the flour then add the warm water/yeast mixture and stir well. When it reaches a stiff consistency knead the dough on a flat surface covered in flour for about 5 minutes. Transfer again in the bowl and let it rise at least 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, heat some oil in a skillet over moderately high heat then sauté garlic until golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale, salt, pepper and sauté about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly, about 15 minutes, then stir in olives and capers.
- Cut half of the dough and pat into 9-inch round baking pan, covering bottom. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and prick all over with a fork.
- Spread kale filling over crust and spread cheese. Roll out remaining dough into a 10-inch thinner layer. With this dough cover the filling and tuck edge under bottom crust to form a flat top.
- Brush top with some oil and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Run a sharp thin knife around edge of pan. Invert a plate or rack over pan and holding pan and plate firmly together, flip over the pizza onto the rack. Cool 15 minutes before serving. Slide pizza onto a cutting board and cut into wedges.