Stop what you’re doing. Dinner tonight is the very best kind there is: it has five ingredients including the ones to make the pizza dough. It’s seasonal, which means you can use it to decimate your CSA pile-up. And it doesn’t care what else you had in mind; recipes like this exist to disrupt the best-laid meal plans and that’s my favorite thing about them. It is, in fact, pretty much the only thing I want out of any dish, for it, at least for a time to be the thing you have to eat next because now nothing else will do.
I, too, had a plan, something involving these summer squash but with pesto and burrata and maybe some beans or farro? It hadn’t quite come together yet when I death-wished over to Sullivan Street Bakery last week to pick up a sourdough pullman for the blueberry bread and butter pudding and ended up walking out with six things not on my list, as will happen when you go to an amazing bakery: this crazy pastry and five squares of pizza, which made a fantastic and surprisingly light weeknight dinner miles better than anything that delivers (the irony not lost on the person doing the miles and the delivering). The mushroom was funky and delicious; the cauliflower was speckled with heat; the potato pizza was such a perfect match for this one, I was really proud of myself until I remembered that it’s the same recipe (it’s okay, I’m rolling my eyes too); the pomodoro was loved only by me either because I appreciate simple things that need no adornment (my theory) or because I’m a bore (others‘) but the zucchini pizza with heaps and valleys of deer bed-like shreds? Whoa. I had to get to the bottom of it.
I fully expected it to contain a grocery cart full of ingredients, as cheffy creations often do, a minimum of sharp cheese, garlic, maybe anchovies, perhaps oregano and definitely 10 other things, probably hard to get. And then I Googled it and learned that Jim Lahey makes the topping with exactly three things — shredded zucchini, shredded gruyere and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs — which along with the pizza dough (flour, yeast) brings us to five ingredients and now dinner is sorted. I used a mix of summer squash, you can only use zucchini, it doesn’t matter. You can use a storebought or homemade dough, you could bake this topping onto toasts, zucchini melt-style (I almost did), you can add other ingredients (a schmear of black olive paste underneath, an egg on top) but you don’t need to make a pizza you’re going to repeat until the zucchini overpopulation recedes.
One year ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Two years ago: Blueberry Crumb Cake
Three years ago: Charred Corn Crepes
Four years ago: Pink Lemonade Bars
Five years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Six years ago: Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs
Seven years ago: Cantaloupe Salsa and Plum Kuchen
Eight years ago: Huevos Rancheros and Blueberry Crumb Bars
Nine years ago: Nectarine and Blackberry Galette
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Banana Puddings with Vanilla Bean Wafers and Taco Torte
1.5 Years Ago: Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas
2.5 Years Ago: Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
3.5 Years Ago: Egg Salad with Pickled Celery and Coarse Dijon
4.5 Years Ago: Cheddar Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread
Summer Squash Pizza
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips
- 1 recipe pizza dough (below) or about a 2/3 volume of my lazy fitted-to-your-schedule favorite or your favorite, whichever it may be
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or other summer squash, trimmed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated gruyere cheese
- 2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time. Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired.
Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough(s), going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle messily with the bread crumbs.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares and dig in.
Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough
This is halved and modified a bit
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250 grams) all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) instant or active dry yeast
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2/3 cups (150 grams) room temperature water
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.