As you may have noticed, zucchini is EVERYWHERE right now. Bright green or yellow and eager to please, it’s just begging to be your friend. It’s very easy to throw into pasta and salads, but let’s face it — unlike other summer veggies, zucchini isn’t very sexy. Tomatoes are just gorgeous and juicy; corn is sweet and fun to have around. Zucchini is, well, eh. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make zucchini more interesting. I learned a great trick from Jim Lahey — the bread guru behind Sullivan Street Bakery — about how to add zucchini to pizza. He regularly serves a Roman-style pizza at his bakery topped with zucchini, and it’s amazing. Here’s how you do it.
The trick is to grate it (I used 2 large zucchinis and grated them on my food processor), then combine the shredded zucchini in a bowl with a couple of teaspoons of salt. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to leach out the vegetable’s liquid (this will keep it from getting mushy when it cooks).
Squeeze the zucchini and discard any extra water, then toss it with 2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese.
For the pizza: Take a rimmed cookie sheet and coat it with olive oil, using your hands to get the oil into all of the corners. Take your pizza dough (yesterday I didn’t have time to make my own, so instead I defrosted a ball of whole wheat dough I had bough at Whole Foods, which worked very well), and stretch it gently but firmly into the pan, making sure there are no holes. You want it to stretch as far as possible to the edges so it’s the same size and shape as your cookie sheet.
Dump your zucchini-cheese topping onto the dough and with your hands, rake it onto your pizza dough. You will want it to reach all the way to the edge and it’s better if there is more zucchini on the edges than in the middle because the edges cook faster.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs, if you’d like.
Place sheet in an oven that has been allowed to preheat to 500 degrees.
Cook for about 20 minutes. It’s done when the crust has begun to pull away from the edges and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Sprinkle with parmesan before serving and cut into squares.
What you’ll have is a ridiculously delicious pizza. I’ve written extensively about my daughter’s aversion to green-colored food, but she gobbled it up.
My mom and I had the leftovers for breakfast (me on the train to work; my mom lightly toasted and then sprinkled with lemon juice) and it was just as good.