My husband, Russ, is a pizza fanatic. A salad glistening with a thin coat of dressing is more up my alley. So to keep us happy, I started making both. Not just pizza with a side of salad, but a pizza that was a salad. A pizz'alad, if you will. A pizza that took the goodness of pizza-a thin crackly crust, the mmmm-inducing pungency of melted cheese-and combined it with the snap of lettuce and the virtues of farm-fresh vegetables. I know it sounds a little weird, but it has been a HUGE hit among my friends and family. It makes for a memorable meal where both pizza lovers and salad lovers can be happy. Top your pizza with salad and serve with icy beer, wine and no-fuss appetizers like olives and you've got a recipe for a relaxed get-together.
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Want to take a stab at making your own pizz'alad? Here's what you need to know.
1. Have All Your Ingredients Ready
This is classic cooking advice, stemming from the concept of mise en place, a fancy French way of saying "get organized before you start cooking." This is especially important when making pizz'alad, because once the dough is in the oven or on the grill, you'll need to move fast. Prep all your veggies and toppings and have them ready to go near your oven or grill. That way, you won't be chopping furiously while your crust is baking. When you rush, accidents are most likely to happen.
2. Double Your Dough or Make It Ahead
If you are making pizz'alad for a party or even just want to get a jump on things, consider making your dough ahead or doubling the recipe. The Whole-Grain Pizza Dough (get the recipe here) is seriously forgiving. You can make it the day before and store it in your fridge. You can make it a week ahead (or longer) and freeze it. (Just let it defrost in your fridge overnight.) You can drop it off the roof of a 20-story building and still it will bake up perfectly for you. You can knead it by hand or make it in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. (I like this way the most.) And while you're at it, double the recipe (even a doubled recipe will work in the food processor). Even if you don't use both balls of dough, you'll have one on hand for next time.
3. Toss the Salad Greens Just Before Serving
This is sort of Salad 101, but it's especially important with pizz'alad. Dressing wilts greens fast. And when you're tossing greens for pizz'alad, you need to pile on the dressing since it's the dressing that soaks into the crust and keeps the pizz'alad from becoming dry. Once your crust is out of the oven, that's a good time to toss your salad.
4. Let the Crust Cool a Bit Before Topping
Since you'll be adding fresh greens to the top of your pizza, you should let the crust cool for about 5 minutes before adding your greens. That way the greens won't wilt immediately.
5. Take It to the Grill
Pizz'alads are perfect for summer cookouts, so go ahead and take them outside to cook. Grilling pizza is easy. Here's how you do it: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Slide the dough onto the grill rack and close the lid. Cook until it's lightly puffed and browned on the bottom, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a pizza peel, charred-side up. Spread your toppings and return to the grill. Close the lid and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with the salad.
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By Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.
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