Was it Michael Moss’ terrifying article on cheese in Sunday’s Times? Was it the passing mention of Sal’s, my favorite pizzeria from childhood? The only place I ever ordered Dr. Pepper and the only place I had ever heard of that served cheese-less, salad pizza. Whatever the reason, salad pizza was on my brain all day yesterday — even during a fancy midtown lunch that included lobster — so that’s what was on the dinner table at 7:00. Or at least, that was what was on mom’s and dad’s plate at 7:00. The kids couldn’t make the leap, so just had their salad on the side.
For the pizza sauce: In a medium saucepan over low heat, saute 1-2 garlic cloves in a lot of olive oil. Add 1 small onion (chopped), salt, pepper, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, and turn up heat slightly. Stir until onions have softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1 15-ounce can tomato puree (or sauce or diced tomatoes), a half dozen shakes of oregano. Stir and simmer on low heat while you prepare the rest of the meal. If you have basil, definitely add a few shreds at this point.
For the salad: In a medium bowl, toss shredded lettuce (any kind you like, this was red and green oak lettuce), a healthy handful of chopped cherry or grape tomatoes, a few slivers of red onion, a lot of shredded Parm. Then add your red wine vinegar and olive oil to taste, like you’re at a pizzeria. Toss.
For the pizza: Preheat oven to 450°F. Place store-bought pizza dough (or homemade if you are lucky enough to have it available) in the center of a lightly oiled square cookie sheet. Using your fingers, stretch it out to the sides of the pan as much as possible. Store-bought doughs are usually very springy so don’t get frustrated. The goal is to get the crust as thin as possible. Using a ladle or a large spoon, distribute a few dollops of pizza sauce on dough. Add sliced fresh mozzarella to the kids half of the pizza, keeping the other half relatively cheese-free. (We cheated a little here.) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (start checking after 10) until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden and crispy. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and top the cheese-less side with salad.