I’ll get right to the point. The star of this pizza is the tapenade – a smashing combination of briny green olives, toasted almonds, the rich oily heat of Calabrian chili and magical umami-rich anchovies. Sprinkled over roasted cauliflower, fresh peppers and creamy mozzarella, this is one fresh and feisty pizza. The only problem with the tapenade is that it’s so good, you might find yourself gobbling spoonfuls straight from the bowl, smearing it on a piece of bread, or swiping the prepped cauliflower through it before you have a chance to assemble the pizza, so I recommend that you make a double or triple batch. This way, you can have your nibbles and eat your pizza, too.
Pizza with Roasted Cauliflower, Calabrian Chilies and Green Olive Tapenade
Calabrian chilies may be purchased in the Italian specialty section of your grocery store. When selecting the fresh chile peppers for the pizza topping, try to select a variety of sweet and hot to your taste. Be sure to taste each pepper before using, as the heat varies from pepper to pepper. I used an Anaheim and a mild Fresno pepper on this pizza. Serves 2 to 4.
For the tapenade:
1 1/2 cups pitted Spanish green olives
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
3 anchovies, drained
1 Calabrian chili, drained and chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons capers
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the pizza:
2 cups cauliflower florets cut in 1/2 inch pieces, about 1/2 medium head
1 cup thinly sliced assorted chile peppers, such as Fresno, Hungarian, sweet red
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 favorite pizza dough – enough for one large pizza
1 – 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped Calabrian chiles
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
Make the tapenade:
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a coarse paste. (Tapenade may be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.) Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Make the pizza:
Preheat oven to 500 F. Toss the cauliflower and sliced peppers with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Thinly roll out pizza dough to desired shape on parchment paper. Lightly brush dough with olive oil. Arrange the mozzarella over the pizza. Spread the cauliflower and peppers over the pizza and scatter the calabrian chilies on top. Evenly sprinkle the pecorino cheese over the pizza. Slide the pizza onto a preheated pizza stone (or onto a baking sheet placed on the lowest oven rack). Bake until the cauliflower is tinged, the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove pizza. Drop teaspoons of tapenade over the pizza, about 1 cup in all. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve warm.
More Pizza? Try these recipes:
Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza from TasteFood
Sausage Pizza with Crispy Kale from the Kitchn
Potato, Rosemary and Garlic Pizza from TasteFood
Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza from The Pioneer Woman