Pizza and a dream

Grilled Lettuce Pizza

Do you ever hear people talking about their technicolor dreams that defy the laws that govern our conscious minds and wonder… “hmm… is this person making this up?” I’m one of those people that purges his memories of any dream on my way to consciousness and as a result I never remember much of my dreams. I’m always slightly envious of those that can remember their dreams and am downright jealous of people that have those so-called “lucid dreams” where you realize you’re in a dream and can alter the course of it.

So why am I going on about dreams on a cooking blog? For me, day dreams are often a source of inspiration for new and interesting ideas. I’ll see someone eating a banana and wonder what I could do with the peel.

The other day, I was strolling through SoHo when I noticed a huge crowd outside a new restaurant. It was literally a hole-in-the-wall with a glass case showcasing their signature pizzas with ovens in the background wafting the irresistible aroma of fresh baked bread and savory cheese onto the street. Up above was a chalk-board menu with about a dozen pizza’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard of. Being the maximizer that I am, I read through every item on the menu with pizzas such as:

  • * grilled lettuce, anchovy and pecorino
  • * scrambled eggs with gruyere, caviar, and truffle oil
  • * bacon, sea urchin, beet greens and béchamel

I waited patiently contemplating my choices and watching people around me light up as they got their orders. Do I go simple with the grilled lettuce and cheese pizza or go for something more extravagant…

Before I was able to put in my order… I woke up! Still dark out, I was in my bed disoriented clinging to the memories of my tasty dream. So I did what any sensible person does at 4:30 am and got up to go make some pizzas… Well not really, but I did get up to write down the entire menu before I forgot it. The following recipe for grilled lettuce pizza comes straight from my dream, the crust comes courtesy of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Dough by way of Smitten Kitchen.

The thin, football (or rugby ball) shaped pizza is crusty, savory and chewy with a crisp layer of romaine lettuce made smokey and sweet by the high heat. The Pecorino Grand Cru adds a potent dose of briny umami bringing a depth you just wouldn’t expect from a lettuce pizza. I skipped the anchovy this time opting for fleur de sel since I didn’t have any in the pantry, but I have no doubt this would have made for a nice addition.

for the dough
3 C bread flour
1 tsp instant dry yeast
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt salt
1 C water

for the topping
6 Romaine lettuce leaves washed and thoroughly dried
Pecorino Grand Cru shaved with a vegetable peeler or mandoline
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
sea salt (I used fleur de sel)
fresh ground black pepper

Add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer running, slowly add the water until it all comes together. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and let it do its thing for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 4 hours.

When you’re ready to make the pizza, turn the broiler on with the rack in the middle position. Put a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

Cut the dough up into 6 equal sized pieces and roll them out into 6 thin football shaped pizzas. Brush each one with enough oil to make the surface slick and shiny and sprinkle with a little salt. Trim the extra leafy part of the lettuce off (you mainly want the crisp stem and a bit of the leafy part). Brush some more EVOO onto the lettuce and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Top with evenly spaced shavings of Pecorino Grand Cru.

Slide your mini-pizza’s onto your pre-heated pizza stone (you may need to bake them in batches of 2 or 3) and bake until the crust is golden brown, the cheese bubbly and the lettuce slightly caramelized.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Who says dreams don’t come true?…(sorry couldn’t resist the line!)..very creative and looks tasty…maybe some radichio leaves for a bit of bitterness?

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Who says dreams don’t come true?…(sorry couldn’t resist the line!)..very creative and looks tasty…maybe some radichio leaves for a bit of bitterness?

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I love that you literally dreamed this up. I have ridiculously crazy dreams, but the closest I’ve come to a menu-related one was dreaming about steak with Bailey’s liqueur sauce. Somehow I don’t think I want to try it out in reality…I love lettuce cooked in petit pois de francais, but have never heard of it grilled before…sounds like a fantastic meal. Good luck with locating the sea urchin ;)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I love that you literally dreamed this up. I have ridiculously crazy dreams, but the closest I’ve come to a menu-related one was dreaming about steak with Bailey’s liqueur sauce. Somehow I don’t think I want to try it out in reality…I love lettuce cooked in petit pois de francais, but have never heard of it grilled before…sounds like a fantastic meal. Good luck with locating the sea urchin ;)

  • http://culinarty.sapiensworks.com/ Lore

    Love Romaine so that pizza is right down my alley. Such a great site like yours deserves an equally great award that’s waiting for you on my blog. So come and get it ;)

  • http://culinarty.sapiensworks.com/ Lore

    Love Romaine so that pizza is right down my alley. Such a great site like yours deserves an equally great award that’s waiting for you on my blog. So come and get it ;)

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ feeding maybelle

    I love that this came to you in a dream–wonderful.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com feeding maybelle

    I love that this came to you in a dream–wonderful.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    i think dreams mean a lot. good one on dreaming food :) my novel was inspired by a dream too that actually put me in a near-trance state that made me fear for my life. geeez, that sounds melodramatic but HA.

    yummy pizza. that’s a pizza i won’t give up on. x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    i think dreams mean a lot. good one on dreaming food :) my novel was inspired by a dream too that actually put me in a near-trance state that made me fear for my life. geeez, that sounds melodramatic but HA.

    yummy pizza. that’s a pizza i won’t give up on. x

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/tastebuddies/ Syrie

    Marc, I love this story so much. I am one of those people who can remember dreams but I have to say I’ve never had anything as brilliant as this.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/tastebuddies/ Syrie

    Marc, I love this story so much. I am one of those people who can remember dreams but I have to say I’ve never had anything as brilliant as this.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    What an a fabulous and interesting treat. Romaine pizza is a brilliant idea.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    What an a fabulous and interesting treat. Romaine pizza is a brilliant idea.

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com/ Gloria

    Marc this look yummy,yummy, what`s beauty pizza!!! x Gloria

  • http://www.canelakitchen.blogspot.com Gloria

    Marc this look yummy,yummy, what`s beauty pizza!!! x Gloria

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I have never tried grilling lettuce. It sounds interesting.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I have never tried grilling lettuce. It sounds interesting.

  • marc

    Peter, great idea with the radichio… would be awesome with a poached egg on top.

    Laura, I’m usually dreaming about something mundane like work (which is probably why I end up forgetting them by morning), so this was a bit unusual for me as well.

    Lore thanks!

    Thanks Feeding Maybelle!

    Diva, now I’m curious about your novel. When’s it going to be published?

    Syrie, thanks, though I don’t know if I can take credit for what my sub-conscious cooks up.

    Thanks noble pig and Gloria

    Kevin, Romaine lettuce is actually quite good bbq’ed as well. It’s also pretty common in asian food to stir fry iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce.

  • marc

    Peter, great idea with the radichio… would be awesome with a poached egg on top.

    Laura, I’m usually dreaming about something mundane like work (which is probably why I end up forgetting them by morning), so this was a bit unusual for me as well.

    Lore thanks!

    Thanks Feeding Maybelle!

    Diva, now I’m curious about your novel. When’s it going to be published?

    Syrie, thanks, though I don’t know if I can take credit for what my sub-conscious cooks up.

    Thanks noble pig and Gloria

    Kevin, Romaine lettuce is actually quite good bbq’ed as well. It’s also pretty common in asian food to stir fry iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce.

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    I love when a dream stays with me the whole day…makes it worth it somehow :)
    I love grilled mesclun pizza, will have to try romaine. My mom makes a great cooked salad soup, first the hub thought that was gross and when he tried it, he loved it!!
    I love the look of that salad!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    I love when a dream stays with me the whole day…makes it worth it somehow :)
    I love grilled mesclun pizza, will have to try romaine. My mom makes a great cooked salad soup, first the hub thought that was gross and when he tried it, he loved it!!
    I love the look of that salad!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    I meant “love the look of that pizza”…

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    I meant “love the look of that pizza”…

  • http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/ Aran

    I love that!! I have had grilled romaine and I love grilled pizza and that smokey flavor so I am sure I would really enjoy this. Besides, it’s hot , it’s Spring and I’m feeling it.

  • http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/ Aran

    I love that!! I have had grilled romaine and I love grilled pizza and that smokey flavor so I am sure I would really enjoy this. Besides, it’s hot , it’s Spring and I’m feeling it.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    What a great story. I’d imagine the crunch of the lettuce adds a wonderful texture. Looks great!

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    What a great story. I’d imagine the crunch of the lettuce adds a wonderful texture. Looks great!

  • alekz

    as a resident of NYC, i scanned and rescanned looking for the name of the restaurant before it sunk in that it was a dream. i love cooked lettuce, so clicked on the entry from tastespotting. i would love a sea urchin & bacon pizza even more (two out of my three favorite foods).

  • alekz

    as a resident of NYC, i scanned and rescanned looking for the name of the restaurant before it sunk in that it was a dream. i love cooked lettuce, so clicked on the entry from tastespotting. i would love a sea urchin & bacon pizza even more (two out of my three favorite foods).

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ Claudia (cook eat FRET)

    i want this pizza – with the anchovies please

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com Claudia (cook eat FRET)

    i want this pizza – with the anchovies please

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  • http://lesauce.typepad.com/ yasmin

    great idea! i want to try this with grilled radicchio. yum!

  • Anonymous

    pizzas* — no apostrophe for plurals.

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