Brussels Sprout Pizza
Brussels sprouts. I know, they’re not everyone’s favorite. I think that this has something to do with the childhood stigma attached to brussels sprouts. Kids hate them. I know I did. I mean, they’re essentially miniature cabbages. And—worst of all—they’re good for you. They simply have to be gross, right?
Wrong. Oh, so wrong. Brussels sprouts are absurdly delicious. But I only “discovered” them a few years back. It’s not like I had been avoiding brussels sprouts previously. I just didn’t really cook with them. Or seek them out on a menu.
All that changed a few years ago, when I had a pizza topped with brussels sprouts and a kiss of lemon juice at my favorite pizza place in San Francisco. Brussels sprouts on pizza? Even the owner, when serving us, felt compelled to explain his choice: “I know it’s a little weird. But I just really like brussels sprouts, so I thought I’d give it a try on the menu this week.”
I’m so glad that he did put it on that week’s menu—and I’m so glad that we tried it. Because, let me tell you, it was a revelation. Not only was the pizza incredibly delicious, but it also converted me into a major brussels sprouts fan.
In the years since I ate this pizza, I’ve been eating and cooking with brussels sprouts more and more. But I never had this pizza again. It hasn’t reappeared on the menu at my favorite pizza place (or, if it has, not during one of the weeks that I’ve eaten there—the menu changes weekly). Not going to lie—I’ve dreamed about it often. But, stupidly, I never thought to actually try my hand at making my own version of this pizza. Until last week, that is.
Last Thursday night, I finally made my own brussels sprout pizza. Fresh brussels sprouts, lightly sautéed until crisp-tender with a little garlic. Arranged on top of some homemade pizza dough, along with some mozzarella. And some salty prosciutto. Baked in a hot oven until bubbling and blistered. Then topped with just a hint of fresh lemon juice. And let me tell you—it did not disappoint. As Patrick declared: “This is my new favorite pizza.” Agreed.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS PIZZA
Vegetarian? Skip the prosciutto. It would still be delicious.
Inspired by a pizza that I ate, several years back, at Pizetta 211
1 recipe of Patrick’s Super Simple Pizza Dough
3/4 lb. brussels sprouts
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup thinly sliced prosciutto
1 cup shredded mozzarella*
salt & pepper
Preheat to 500°F (or as hot as your oven will go).
Clean and trim the brussels sprouts. Cut the stem off each brussels sprout. Remove the dirty, outer leaves and discard. Cut each sprout in half, then thinly slice into 1/8 inch wide ribbons.
In a large pan, heat a couple splashes of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next, add the brussels sprouts—along with salt and pepper, to taste—and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
Use your hands to stretch out your pizza dough. I find that it’s best to drape the dough over your hands, and use your fists (move them around in a slow circle) to stretch the dough (gently!) into a big pizza pie. Gravity does half of the work here. Another method that works well is holding the edge of the dough round—like a steering wheel—and turn it round slowly to stretch it out. Again, gravity does half of the work here. Go with whatever method you find works best for you. Just remember to be gentle, and to take your time stretching out the dough (don’t rush it, or you might end up tearing the dough).
Now you’re ready to assemble pizza. Lay your dough out on a pizza stone, pizza crisper, or sheet pan (whatever you’ve got—I use a pizza crisper pan). Brush or spritz lightly with olive oil. Scatter the mozzarella evenly across the pizza. Top first with the sautéed brussels sprouts, and then with the thinly sliced prosciutto.
Bake for about 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, and the dough is blistered. Remove from oven, and drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice (1-2 tablespoons, to taste). Slice, eat, and enjoy with a side salad of leafy greens.
* A note on the mozzarella. I didn’t use fresh mozzarella, as it has a very high water content, and thus has the tendency to make homemade pizza quite soggy. Instead, I used a high-quality shredded mozzarella with lower water content. The result was a deliciously crisp pizza.