In the spirit of this book of logic chopping by Joel Jensen entitled There Exists an X, X is a Sandwich, we could debate whether this is pizza or flatbread. A deep dish or thick crust pizza is clearly not a flatbread, but thin crust pizzas are clearly pizzas, and this has a thin crust. So thickness will not decide the issue. Flatbread usually contains no yeast in the recipe. This has yeast, which would tend to exclude it from the flatbread category, but pita bread has yeast and it is a clear case of a flatbread. So the presence of yeast is not much help. Flatbreads tend to be thin and crisp but this one, although thin, has plenty of chew, like a pizza.
My Italian friends claim that only a pie blistered in 900 degree ovens, covered with a thin layer of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil and made within a 20 mile radius of Napoli is a pizza. They insist that these so called “California” pizzas topped with curried chicken, chocolate, and port wine (or whatever) are a travesty of tangled thought. Indeed, a “travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham”, as a character in Bananas said (referring to a trial that had nothing to do with the adjudication of pizza recipes.)
And what’s more, so it is claimed, “California Pizza” is an affront to the Virgin Mary! A sin against pizza essence and culinary rectitude.
I dearly love Neapolitan pizza but, and with all due respect to the Virgin Mary, my Italian friends are wrong. There is nothing like the smoky countenance of pizza cooked on a charcoal grill. And as I noted above, this crust is not cracker thin but has plenty of substance and flavor, especially as it is infused with rosemary and garlic, which makes anything Italian. As to culinary rectitude, this is so good you will forget about rectitude of any sort.
Now I will grant that the use of hummus as a sauce will tend to put us in mind of flatbread but the deployment of zucchini clearly pulls us back toward Italy. In disputes such as this, no litany of necessary and sufficient conditions or xenophobic nationalisms will suffice.
We can end this dispute by agreeing to the proposition that this is a pizza simply because I say so.
Recipe is below the fold.
Grilled Zucchini-Hummus Pizza
Serves 4 an appetizer or light meal
1 1/2 tablespoons EV olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 cups bread four, plus extra for preparing work surface
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of warm water
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic and rosemary 2 minutes. Allow to cool.
In a food processor, mix flour, yeast, salt, and garlic mixture. With processor running pour water through feed tube until dough forms a ball. Process about 20 seconds more until dough is fully formed.
Turn onto a floured work surface and knead until a smooth ball is formed. Put dough in a oiled container, cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise until dough is doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
When dough is finished rising, punch it down with your fist, turn it onto your work surface and divide into two equal pieces. Make each piece into a smooth ball. Allow dough to rest covered at least 1/2 hour.
Flour your work surface and hands. Using your hands or a rolling pin, form each dough ball into a round about 1/4 inch thick making sure the pie does not stick to the work surface. (If you desire perfectly round pies, use a pot lid of the appropriate size to mark a circle on the pie and cut with a pairing knife along the lines formed by the pot lid.)
Carefully move pies to a large, floured sheet pan and reserve covered until ready to grill.
While the dough is rising make the hummus.
1 can garbanzo beans (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons tahini
5 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/8 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place beans, tahini, garlic and juices in a food processor and process until a paste forms.
Add cilantro and with processor running slowly add olive oil until desired consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.
1-1 1/4 lb zucchini (8-ball zucchini’s work best to cover the pizza if you can find them)
Salt and pepper
Chopped Cilantro as a garnish
Slice zucchini’s into 1/4 inch rounds.
Place zucchinis in a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt and allow as much water as possible to drain, about 30 minutes.
Place large frying pan over medium high heat and heat until very hot.
Dry each zucchini slice with paper towels
Brush oil on zucchini slices and place in hot pan. Cook each slice until blistered, turn and cook other side until blistered. Do this in batches and be careful not to crowd the pan.
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove from pan, drain on paper towels and reserve.
Reserve chopped cilantro
Make a medium fire in your grill. Spread coals evenly over grill bottom so pizzas will cook evenly.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees
Place pizza on a lightly floured pizza paddle and slide onto grill centering pizza over coals. Check continually to make sure pizza does not burn.
When one side of the pizza has browned remove and reserve on a cookie sheet. Cook the second pie and reserve.
On the cooked side of the pies, spread hummus evenly, and then cover with zucchini rounds.
Place on pizza paddle (you will not need to flour it this time) and slide onto grill.
Cover with grill top (to warm the condiments), checking frequently to make sure underside of pizza is not burning.
When pizza is sufficiently brown, remove and reserve in a warm oven.
Cook the second pizza.
Garnish with cilantro, slice and serve both pies