The main shed on the croft we’ve been staying at whilst WWOOFing is a place of wonder. It has that pleasant musty shed smell and there are spades and shovels; jam jars of screws and nails; a box of gardening gloves of all sizes – some long separated from their partners and there are dozens of drying onions suspended from the ceiling on blue rope. Having already enjoyed an onion and cabbage soup (with Valentine Warner’s ultimate cheese on toast from The Good Table for company – seriously, nothing compares and yes you do need a recipe for cheese on toast) during our stay, I happened upon Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s kale and onion pizza from River Cottage Veg Everyday – another onion-heavy recipe. I’ve made a couple of amendments (including adding more onions) to arrive at the dreamy little recipe below.
This recipe makes 3 pizzas, each serving 2-3 people.
For the pizza bases:
- 250g plain wholemeal flour
- 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
- 1 1/2 level tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp easy blend instant dried yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 white onions – sliced into strips
- 2 red onion – sliced into strips
- 2 garlic cloves – pressed
- A few big handfuls of kale – shredded into ribbons
- 150g mature cheddar – grated
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tins of MSC anchovies
- 50g chopped hazelnuts – toasted in a dry pan until they start to brown
- Put the flours into a large bowl and add the salt and yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon.
- Add the oil and 325ml of warm water and mix again.
- Flour your hands and knead the dough for 15 minutes or so until smooth and stretchy. The dough’s pretty sticky but this is as it should be – try not to add too much flour as you knead.
- Pop a little bit of oil into a new bowl and the dough. Turn the dough so it is covered with a thin film of oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place it in a warm place to prove for a couple of hours.
- When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 250ºC/480ºF/gas mark 9. Pop a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and, once warm, add the onion and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes or so until the onion has completely softened, stirring now and then.
- Add the kale to the onion pan and stir. Cook for a few minutes until the kale has wilted. Remove from the heat and season.
- Remove the dough from the proving bowl and knock it back by poking it with your fingers until it reduces in size. Leave the dough to rest for a few minutes, before cutting into three.
- Scatter a little flour onto a piece of baking paper and roll out the first piece of dough on the paper. Get the dough as thin as you can.
- Spread a third of the kale and onion mixture on the pizza base. Add a third of the grated cheese and top with a few anchovies.
- Add a drizzle of oil and put the pizza onto the warmed baking sheet using the baking paper to transfer it easily.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy and browning on the crust. Sprinkle with the chopped toasted hazelnuts before serving.
- Repeat stages 9 to 12 with the remaining dough and toppings.
- Leaves – kale works well because it crisps up nicely but if you don’t have any to hand, you could use spinach or other dark leafy greens.
- Veggie-fy this recipe by leaving out the anchovies. For the same salty tang, you could use a few chunks of feta cheese as well as the cheddar.
- Add some spice with a few quick pickled peppers.