Zucchini Pizza with Lemon and Chives

Grated zucchini gets rung out and mixed with chili, lemon zest, funky gruyere, nutty parm, and melty mozz. The whole thing doesn’t seem like it will work until it emerges, fresh out of the oven, like a glorious phoenix spawns from fire. The heat from the pizza coaxes out the aroma of freshly sprinkled chives. Top with more parm, for good measure, and then feast.

Zucchini Pizza with Lemon and Chives
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips
2 tsp cornmeal
16-oz pizza dough (favorite = Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp granulated sugar
flaky sea salt, as desired
2 tsp lemon zest, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp chili flakes (for desired amount of heat)
3/4 cup coarsely grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more shaven, to serve
1 1/2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time. Meanwhile,
brush 9×13-inch baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. On a counter or cutting board, use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough into a thin rectangle. Gently transfer to baking sheet and continue to press to the edges of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together. Sprinkle with flaky sugar and sea salt. Transfer to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, until crisped and slightly golden. As the dough bakes, toss the zucchini with 1 tsp lemon zest, chili flakes, and black pepper. Add zucchini to grated cheese and toss, making sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough, leaving about 1/2-inch of space from the edges. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the topping is golden. Straight out of the oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of lemon zest, chives, and shaven parmesan. Slice into squares and enjoy.

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