A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

a greener year + white pizza with kale

I’ve never been especially good about New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not that I’m opposed to self-improvement, it’s that I have trouble equating newness with the barren bleakness of January.  I tend to make my resolutions at the beginning of the school year, when the world seems as new as a freshly sharpened pencil or a class roster filled with unfamiliar names.  The arbitrary New Year in January, then, is merely an excuse to drink champagne.

However, in the weeks preceding the advent of this particular new year, I’d given a lot of thought to leafy greens.  I frequently resolve to eat more greens, often going so far as to purchase lovely, crisp bunches of them and then watch them wither away in my refrigerator for lack of inspiration.  But then I met Alice Waters.  Well, I didn’t so much meet her as I read a biography of her, which prompted me to buy a few of her cookbooks and experiment with a bunch of her recipes, as a result of which I really started to get this whole leafy greens thing.

And so, weeks before I learned that green is so 2008, I’d mentally committed to a greener 2009.  I resolved not only to incorporate greens into more of our meals but to ensure that those greens were locally grown — a double whammy of greenness (what with the green food and the green food choices).  I had to enlist Chris to my cause, of course, which I did with the help of (what else?) pizza.  Then I carefully planned a week’s worth of meals around local leafy greens and headed for the co-op, where I discovered that the folks whose greenhouse was supposed to supply us with produce throughout the winter had decided to go to Arizona instead.

So I can’t really do much in the way of leafy greens.  I can, however, tell you about the pizza I made back in that fleeting moment when local greens were available and I’d finally figured out what to do with them.  The crust, which is a Smitten Kitchen recipe, is delightfully thin and crispy — the perfect platform for a savory combination of tart creamy goat cheese and pungent kale that I found hard to resist. But more importantly, this pizza is nearly covered in a substance that is obviously green and most likely a vegetable, and Chris gobbled up his share in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, punctuating mouthfuls with exclamations of praise and tossing out the occasional f-word for emphasis.  That usually indicates a keeper.

White Pizza with Kale
(serves 2)

for the crust

Pizza dough, like any bread, is tricky.  I’ve tried a number of recipes and had the best luck with the one featured at the end of this post.   The recipe calls for 1½ cups of flour; I usually use ½ c. of all purpose flour, ½ of whole wheat flour, and ½ c. of bread flour.  I like the nuttiness the wheat flour lends to the crust, plus white foods make me feel guitly.

for the topping

4 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale (about 12 oz.)
1 T. water
6-8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” slices
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
¼ c. parmesan, grated

1) Preheat oven to 500°F or as hot as it will go without being set to broil. Roll out pizza dough, sprinkle baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal and transfer dough to prepared pan.  Mix 2 T. olive oil with 1 clove minced garlic and set aside.  

2) To strip the kale from the white ribs fold the leaf in half lengthwise, grip the stem end in one hand, and run your other hand down the length of the leaf.  Chop the leaves into small pieces and discard the stems.  Heat the remaining 2 T. olive oil and remaining minced garlic clove in a large sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant (less than a minute).  Add the chopped kale and water; toss to combine.  Cover and steam for about two minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the greens to a paper-towel-lined plate and let rest.

3) Brush the garlic oil mixture over the pizza dough.  Top with mozzarella, then scatter the kale over the cheese.  Crumble goat cheese over the kale, then top with grated parmesan.  

4) Bake in preheated oven 8-12 minutes, or until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbly.  Cut into wedges or strips (or what have you) and serve.

65 responses

  1. Looks delicious–this is the kale pizza you told us about!

    Question, though–why kale and not spinach? I love kale, but I think of it as a firmer green, more suited to sauteeing or slow-cooking, not necessarily topping a pizza.

    January 5, 2009 at 12:48 am

  2. Megan

    For some reason, spinach hasn’t been available for a while, but kale, collards and (occasionally) chard have been. Different farmers like to grow different things, I guess. And I think on that particularly grocery outing the kale looked better than the chard, so kale is what ended up on the pizza.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:12 am

  3. Did you make your pizza to follow the Southern tradition of greens for the new year?

    I made Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day with Collard Greens. My version uses soy chorizo, fake bacon, onion, garlic, peppers, and black-eyed peas. Yum.

    January 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm

  4. kirby

    Nice. I love kale, I’ll have to make this soon. By the by, I made your squash and onion tart and it was delicious. My guys didn’t even complain about the squash.

    January 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

  5. It looks wonderful and I can’t believe you got Chris to eat green veggies.

    January 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm

  6. realfoodlover

    Firstly I love the title of your blog: When Harry met Salad. Made me laugh and come to investigate…I love kale because it is available during winter. And it is a superfood: one cupful provides as much calcium as a glass of milk (not to mention vitamin A, folate and fibre). One way to eat a load of greens is to steam it (as one of your commentators said) and serve with garlic and butter or a sauce made with ground almonds, rice milk and fried onions…

    Well done for making home-made pizza – kitchen hero!

    January 27, 2009 at 4:17 am

  7. Mandy

    A friend told me about this recipe and I’ve made it lots. I love it! Thanks for posting it.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

  8. This recipe looks awesome, and I also love the name of your blog! Just bookmarked you to come back to when I have more time. :-)

    May 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

  9. I made this for dinner tonight with some kale from our CSA – DELICIOUS! Thank you!

    June 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  10. Pingback: » 10 Ways to Try Kale

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  12. twoveganboys

    This pizza looks amazing. I am going to have to make this. Mmmm.

    June 3, 2012 at 11:02 am

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  27. angelasb

    I found and saved this recipe over a year ago. My coop had beautiful lacinto kale so I bought a couple of bunches and pulled out the recipe! I cooked up crimini and wood ear mushrooms, reserving the juice to steam kale, garlic and shallots in. The mushrooms were layered on top of the kale, before the goat and romano cheese (didn’t have the parm.) I added red pepper flakes, pepper, and salt. SO DELICIOUS. Thank you!

    September 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

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  30. This looks great! I would love to add this to my Pinterest page if you will allow the images to be posted. Currently, it says unavailable.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention, as I was unaware my images couldn’t be pinned. I did some research and changed a setting, so everything should be fixed now. Pin away!

      Best, Megan

      February 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  31. gradabout

    Beautiful photography all over this blog, very nice indeed :) and kale is such an understated beauty!

    March 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

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