Cauliflower Pizza Crust
It started with the Paleo-dieters, the ones who eat nothing but bacon and eggs for breakfast — but no carbs! Never carbs! — but then ordinary everyday people in my social media feeds were posting various recipes for how to turn a head of cauliflower into a low-carb pizza crust. And I figured, why not? I mean, if there’s a healthier option than a wheat-based yeast crust, we should give it a try, right?
You know why we shouldn’t give it a try? Because it took the entire freakin’ day to make, that’s why.
Let me walk you through the steps.
First, you take a cauliflower that’s larger than your head and cut it into florets. You don’t want the hard stems, the recipes admonish, just the tender tips. Time: 10 minutes.
Then, you put all of the delicate florets into your food processor in small batches and pulverize until it’s the consistency of rice. Time: 5 minutes. Elapsed time: 15 minutes.
Now you roast the pulverized cauliflower at 450 degrees F on two roasting pans, rotating halfway through to ensure even roasting and light browning. Time: 20 minutes. Elapsed time: 35 minutes.
Of course, the cauliflower has to cool once it leaves the oven. Add 10 minutes. Elapsed time: 45 minutes.
Now, carefully pour all of the roasted cauliflower into a cheesecloth and wrap tightly.
Squeeze the liquid out. Squeeze. Squeeeeezzze. And squeeze some more. And continue squeezing until your arm muscles ache, because no matter how much you squeeze, more liquid will continue to seep from the cheesecloth. After 15 minutes and a bowl full of liquid (which I accidentally spilled most of before photographing), give up and decide that enough is enough. Elapsed time: 1 hour.
Look at the clock. Curse quietly to yourself because seriously, you had other things that you could and should be doing with your time.
Now take a large bowl and mix together the cauliflower, two eggs, 3/4 cup grated parmesan, and Italian herbs and spices. Take the mixture and spread out into a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Presumably you should make the crusts round, but I had two baking sheets, a lot of cauliflower mixture, and needed to maximize my space utilization. Time: 10 minutes. Elapsed time: 1 hour 10 minutes.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheesy bits start to get golden brown, as seen above. Elapsed time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
Top with sauce, cheese, vegetables and meats. Bake until the cheese begins to bubble, another 10-15 minutes. Elapsed time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Elapsed time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
“That’s too bad, because I’m never making it again,” I replied. Seriously, traditional pizza dough — even homemade dough — takes less hands-on effort for much better results.
If you must make it, please have the good sense to wait until a weekend to do it. This is not something that you want to attempt on a regular weeknight, if you plan on eating at a reasonable hour.