A New Kind of Pizza for a New Year

thunfisch-pizzaHappy New Year, everybody! I thought I’d start off 2012 by breaking an established culinary tradition: pizza toppings. Don’t get me wrong – I love mushroom and (pastured) pepperoni as much as the next guy – but I also enjoy venturing into off-the-spun-dough territory. I first had Thunfisch (tuna fish) pizza in Germany and have been making in my own kitchen ever since.

Before you start thinking that’s just too weird (“Tuna fish on pizza?”), let me remind you about the hallowed American lunch known as the tuna fish melt. This is essentially the same thing, except you’re adding a zesty tomato sauce and are eating the tuna on triangular wedges of crust rather than squared-off toast. And you’re including spinach. All in all, putting tuna fish on pizza makes for a heartier, more satisfying meal. For pizza lovers, it’s a chance to try something new; for folks wanting to upgrade the health quotient of their meals, this is a great way to add natural omega-3s to your dinner in the form of tuna + spinach. (On a whole-grain crust, of course.) I’m a member of both camps – upgraded meals always involve better flavor, too.

Tuna & Spinach Pizza

Makes one 12″ round pizza; feel free to double the recipe to make two pizzas if you have two pans.

For the crust:

1 heaping teaspoon yeast

1/2 cup + 1 T. fairly warm water (not scorching hot, but pretty hot from the tap)

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup corn flour* (not starch!)

1/2 cup brown rice flour*

1/2 cup chickpea flour*

1/2 cup potato flour* (not starch!)

Up to 1/2 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows

For the toppings:

Pizza or spaghetti sauce, homemade or store-bought (if using store-bought, try to find one that contains extra-virgin olive oil rather than soybean or canola or any other type of oil; the latter will almost certainly be highly refined and probably also GMO)

Canned tuna fish

Baby spinach leaves

Onion, sliced thin

Shredded cheese of your choice (think of what you like with a tuna melt; I prefer Gruyere, Parmesan, or any other hard, aged cheeses)

Preheat oven to 425F. Combine yeast and water in a large mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should bubble and create a light foam on top of the water as it comes to life. In another bowl, whisk together the salt and the flours. Use extra-virgin olive oil to thoroughly grease a 12″ round pizza pan. I like to use the type that’s aerated – i.e., has little holes in the bottom. That seems to create a thin, crisp crust. (European pizzas have very thin, crisp crusts, especially compared to doughy American crusts.)

Stir the flours into the yeast. Add the milk, starting with 1/4 cup and adding a bit more if the dough is too dry and crumbly. I find that 1/2 cup works out perfectly if I use the four specific flours I listed. You’ll probably need to mix the dough with your hands towards the end to wind up with a not-too-dry, not-too-wet ball. No need to let your dough rise since you’re going for a thin crust; you’ll still get a pleasantly yeasty taste without the rising time.

Press the dough evenly into the greased pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Pull out of the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and top with your toppings. Begin with the sauce, add everything except the cheese, and end by covering everything in a good layer of cheese. Reduce heat to 375F and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melting and turning golden brown.

Enjoy!

* These are gluten-free flours. If you don’t have all four of them, just be sure to use a total of 2 cups of flour. The potato flour is highly absorbent, so if you don’t use any potato flour, only use 1/2 cup of water (omit the tablespoon). If you would prefer to make a wheat-based version, use a total of 2 cups of spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour.

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

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