Peter Piper Baked a Peck of Pickled Pizza

Yes… you read that right.  Pickled Pizza.  Well okay, the pizza itself isn’t picked but it is topped with… pickled beets.  And tangy goat feta.  And fresh thyme.  Absolutely amazing!

Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza

Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza

I first tried the recipe in a local cooking class suggested by fellow blogger Karis of Karis’ Kitchen (check her blog for a great write-up). The venue for the event was Glorioso‘s, a three generation neighborhood Italian grocery turned upscale retailer who partnered with Chicago based specialty food vendor Scrumptious Pantry.

Dubbed “Cooking Seasonally,” the class took a rather unique approach and focused on using pickled foods to extend the growing season.  Although unusual, it makes a lot of sense if you want to go beyond freezing and (the seriously limited) cold storage. It was taught by Lee Greene, Scrumptious Pantry founder and local food aficionado who previously honed her food instincts working in an Italian biodynamic vinyard.

A Selection of Products from Scrumptious Pantry and Others

A Selection of Products from Scrumptious Pantry (and Others)

Scrumptious Pantry is focused on turning produce from small local farms into upscale retail items, believing that “You should taste the care and passion which the local farmers puts into growing their organic crop.”  The concept of “adding value” to farm products by processing them into higher end foods (like cheese or other specialty foods) is a firmly established principle touted by PBS series Market to Market and the basis of farm cooperatives like Organic Valley.  Scrumptious Pantry works with local producers, leverages heirloom vegetables and produces a seriously tasty and unique product.

Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets

Our class featured three delicious recipes highlighting pickled foods, a pasta dish, a quiche, and my very favorite, Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza, which I was pretty sure would go over great at home–if I could just get everyone past that whole beet issue.

Quiche

Class Quiche

When I made it at home, daughter #2 and my husband thought it was good, and suggested I increase the amount of toppings next time.  Yes, that’s right, they were actually asking for extra beets.  When I upped the beets and cheese the second time, dinner got a full double thumbs up–which meant there was fighting over the last piece.

More Beets and Goat Feta, Please!

More Beets and Goat Feta, Please!

On the other hand our youngest wouldn’t touch either version, “you expect me to eat beets?”

No, you can’t win ‘em all.

As a result of this endeavor I intend to pickle some beets of my own next year, but must note that these beets had a clear taste of fresh herbs infused throughout, so I am not sure I can make something quite as wondrous–though of course I’ll try!  And it provides another (sorely needed) outlet for the prolific CSA kale!

Kale (okay, chard) for Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza

Kale (okay, chard) for Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza

The pizza worked great with a salad for dinner and I think it would be even more spectacular as a hot appetizer.

Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza with Salad

Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza with Salad

Pickled Beet and Kale Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough for one pizza
  • 1 cup picked red beets, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh kale or Swiss Chard, finely torn
  • Fresh thyme, about 18 sprigs left whole
  • 5 oz feta cheese (ideally a quality goat feta)
  • Extra Virgin (EV) olive oil

Directions

1.  Prepare dough as indicated on package/recipe

2.  Heat oven to 450.

3.  Roll out dough, brush with olive oil and evenly distribute beets and feta.

4.  Bake in oven for about 7 minutes.

5.  Top pizza with kale and thyme sprigs and let sit in warm oven for another 3-5 minutes.

6.  Drizzle with more EV olive oil and serve. (Note that this final touch is truly important to achieving the full flavor)

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