Well here it is, the very first Thursday Night Pizza of 2015. Though I've never been one for all that post-holiday-body-detox/cleanse hooey, after two weeks of gorging on roasts and gravy and yams and cookies and pie . . . and my fair share of booze . . . I figured I may as well start the new year off with something on the healthier side.
Beets are packed with nutrients that help purify the blood and detoxify the liver, and with rich, jewel tones, they also make for a stunning presentation. For this pizza, I roasted and then pureed the beets with some olive oil, dill, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then I slathered the puree on thin-crust dough, baked it until the crust was golden brown, let it cool for a few minutes, and topped it with cold horseradish-yogurt sauce and some more chopped dill. The beet-and-yogurt pairing is an homage to borscht, a traditional Eastern European beet soup, and I would be remiss not to accredit fellow farmstander (and self-proclaimed borscht afficianado) Zach for his suggestion to recreate this old-world staple in pizza form. It's the perfect mix of old and new, traditional and inventive, earthy and bright.
Makes one thin-crust pizza
- 3 medium red beets, scrubbed, leaves removed
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, divided
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 (12- to 14-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- Flaked sea salt
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To prep the toppings: Rub the beets with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet. Roast the beets for 50 to 55 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the beets from the oven, unwrap them, and set them aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, rub off their skins using a clean paper towel. Trim off the ends, cut the beets into chunks, and transfer them to a food processor or blender. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the chopped dill and puree until smooth. Add more olive oil as needed to create a puree with the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest, horseradish, and 1 teaspoon of the dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Increase the oven temperature to 500°F.
To roll out the dough: Dust the ball of dough with flour and place it on a well-floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick disk or rectangle (depending on what you'll be baking it on). (If you have extra dough, cut it off and use it to make a little individual pizza or calzone.)
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk/rectangle on the prepared peel.
If you're using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough rectangle on the prepared baking sheet and press it into the corners of the baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Spoon the beet puree onto the dough and spread it evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle some flaked sea salt over top.
To bake the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes (3 to 5 minutes in a gas oven), rotating halfway, until the bottom of the crust is crispy and the top crust is golden. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you're using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake at 500°F for about 10 minutes, until the bottom of the crust is crispy and the top is golden.
Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes. Measure 1/2 cup of the horseradish-yogurt mixture into a resealable plastic bag, and snip off the very tip of one of the corners. Pipe the yogurt mixture onto the pizza in a spiral pattern, then sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of chopped dill. Cut the pizza into slices and serve with the extra horseradish-yogurt sauce for dipping.