I am not a fan of food, which, under the umbrella of ‘being healthy’, pretends to be something else and in so doing, delivers only disappointment. Courgette strips instead of pasta, yoghurt when you really need cream, vegetables in cake (which I admit can sometimes work)..cauliflower instead of pizza…
This isn’t anything like a pizza. I warn you now. But if, as I do, you like to have a lunch with a ‘base’ and lots of veg then this is a really good, gluten-free, wheat-free and tasty (yes really) offering. To me, it didn’t taste like cauliflower at all, more like a lovely parmesan crust. My partner was a veggie for 20 years; he views such things with deep suspicion, having been offered beans, made into the shape of a lacklustre burger for many years. But he was impressed and delighted.
I got the recipe from Delicious Magazine (no link because it doesn’t appear to be online), and I’ve halved the ingredients to make it ideal for two, for lunch. I followed the recipe topping but obviously you can add whatever you want. We happened to have some pesto made by my eldest (she makes it better than I do, taking it off me and saying “here Mummy, let me show you”. I love how she is confident like this). You could, feasibly, leave the pesto out and add a drizzle of olive oil or chilli oil, or just, you know, BUY SOME.
225g cauliflower florets
1 medium egg
75g ground almonds
25g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
2 slices of Parma ham
Pesto and mint to serve
Heat the oven to 200C and put in a large baking sheet. Now, put the florets in a food processor and blitz so it looks like cous cous. Put in a bowl and add the egg (which you have lightly beaten), ground almonds, parmesan and a bit of salt and pepper (not too much salt as the parmesan is also salty). Stir together.
On a piece of baking parchment, spoon out two portions. I sort of shaped it by hand, into two round shapes. It was easy, no rolling and although the mixture is wet and you think it won’t work, it does.
When you’ve done this, take out the baking sheet (which will be hot!) and gently slide the baking parchment onto the baking sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Check after 15 minutes.
Whilst that’s cooking, slice the courgette into ribbons.
When the bases are cooked, take out and keeping them on the baking sheet, scatter over the ricotta, courgette and ham. Cook for another five minutes and then, spoon a bit of pesto and scatter some mint leaves atop.
2016 update: I just love this dish. What I tend to do is spread a thin layer of chilli jam/caramelised onion/chorizo jam over the base, then layer on the courgette and ricotta but also add (ssssh) some slices of chorizo, which I love. This really is tasty! When it’s cooked I drizzle on some olive oil (extra virgin).