Intro: Tomatillo "Green Sauce" Pizza
Lately, I've had this vision of a pizza in my head. It's a green sauce pizza that is relatively healthy (as pizza goes) but it isn't a California Pizza Kitchen type of insane hybrid. BBQ Thai pizzas have their place and all, but I've been thinking about a pizza that's relatively traditional — only with a green sauce instead of red. This is my first attempt at creating and ultimately perfecting it.
What this sauce isn't
It's not pesto. I know, I know. You can make pizza with pesto. That's a worthy idea, but this isn't that.
It's not a "Mexican pizza." You could probably put salsa verde on a pizza and make one of those hybrids, but my goal is to stay within Italian flavor profiles — even though I'm using tomatillos, typically found in South American cooking.
What this sauce is
It's a bit like a gremolata in a way. Gremolata is a parsley, lemon, and garlic mixture that you might find spooned on top of a piece of lamb in Italy. I've taken those ingredients and combined them with roasted tomatillos. It's a very light sauce. Zesty and bright. Other than that, it's a fairly traditional pizza and has all the usual cheeses and toppings.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
You'll need everything you typically use when making pizza except for the red sauce. You'll need pizza dough and cheese. Here is the mixture/ratio of cheese I use:
- 3/5 part whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 1/5 part Provolone cheese
- 1/5 part Cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese for topping, to taste
I cooked mine on a pizza steel, a 1/4-inch thick piece of steel. Works like a charm. (A pizza stone or steel will be needed to make proper pizza IMHO.)
For the sauce:
- 1 lb. tomatillos
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Step 2: Make Your Sauce
Making this sauce is very easy. Don't be daunted if you've never roasted tomatillos before. Super easy.
Turn on your oven and crank it up all the way. If it goes over 500 degrees, even better.
Peel the skins off of the tomatillos and wash them thoroughly in cold water. You'll notice they have a stickiness to them, which you'll be washing off. Cut off the tops of the tomatillos and place them face down on a roasting pan. Peel the garlic cloves and toss them into the pan. Roast these in your oven for 4-5 minutes. Pull them out, turn them all over (garlic too) and put them back in for another 4-5 minutes.
Once they are cooled a bit, toss all of it into a Cuisinart or blender. Cut off most of the stems of the parsley and toss it in. Zest your lemon and squeeze the juice in. Add your olive oil. Pulse it until it's thoroughly mixed.
Step 3: Make Your Pizza
If you've ever made pizza, you know how to do the rest. I made a few of these green sauce pizzas and had people who were hanging around taste them and share their thoughts. Here are some of the conclusions we came to:
- It has a very bright flavor and a lightness to it. If you want it to be a bit more rich, spread olive oil on the dough before saucing.
- We tried one with extra provolone (and less mozzarella). We liked it a bit more. Provolone really seemed to complement the sauce well.
- We made one with bacon, and of course everybody (well, almost everybody) likes bacon. Our favorite combination had extra provolone, bacon, onion, and yellow peppers.
- Nearly everyone agreed that this could be really stellar with arugula on top. That's how we're trying it next time.
All in all, this was a pretty successful experiment and one I'll keep tinkering with. I'd be very interested in hearing if other people have tried something like this or if they have other suggestions.