Life has a nasty sense of humor sometimes. Like when you get all cozied up on the couch, wrap a blanket snug around your legs, and only then realize that the TV remote is across the room. Or like when the boiler poops out at bedtime on the first night of your husband's business trip . . . you and your 10-month-old son wake up to a 50-degree house the next morning . . . and the plumber says he can't swing by to help until 3pm. Ha. Ha. Ha. Thank goodness for space heaters and an oven that goes up to 550.
I had planned for shrimp scampi pizza this week, but then a can of coconut cream called to me from the pantry in all its tropical glory. Paired with the shrimp, garlic, and leek I had bought for scampi, and brightened up with roasted red chili paste and cilantro, it made for the perfect warm-weather-fantasy coconut shrimp pizza.
Trust me. You will not miss the cheese at all on this pizza. The coconut cream congeals into an unctuous white sauce, just like heavy cream does. Leek, garlic, and cilantro accent the shrimp with verdant flavors, and roasted red chili paste adds just the right amount of heat.
Are you lactose intolerant, or trying to cut down on dairy? After you try this coconut shrimp pizza, switch it up with a combo of other toppings, such as: roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes, ham or prosciutto, blanched cauliflower, mint, and lemongrass.
Dairy-Free Coconut Shrimp Pizza
- 1/2 pound shrimp raw, peeled and deveined
- freshly ground back pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing the dough
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough homemade or store-bought
- 1 leek white and light green parts, thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
- 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon roasted red chili paste
- 1/4 cup coconut cream plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Place your pizza stone or steel (if using) on an oven rack in the middle of your oven. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, just place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F (or the highest temperature your oven will allow, if using a pizza stone/steel) and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prep the toppings.
To pre-cook the shrimp
- Toss the shrimp with some salt and pepper. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1 minute per side, just until opaque. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the shrimp to a plate; set aside.
To stretch or roll out the dough
- Place the dough on a clean work surface and, using your hands, gently stretch it into a 12-inch circle or square, making sure that it retains an even thickness throughout. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12-inch circle or square.
- If you’re using a pizza stone or steel: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet lightly with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
- If you’re using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza
- Brush the dough with olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Scatter the leek and garlic evenly over the pizza, then arrange the shrimp on top. Dot the chili paste in between the shrimp, and drizzle the 1/4 cup of coconut cream evenly over all.
To bake the pizza
- If you’re using a pizza stone or steel, 20 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 or steel using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza just until the crust is golden, about 6 minutes. 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 or steel to reheat under the broiler for 10 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 just until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes.
- Immediately after you take the pizza out of the oven, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut cream over top. Season with a little more salt and pepper and garnish with the cilantro. Slice and serve.