No Cheese, No Problem
Cheeseless pie, huh? The thing about this earthy, sweet, crazy delicious pie is that the textures at play here fool your palate into thinking you're eating an incredibly hearty pie with a dairy base. The creamy, nutty caramelized onion-walnut spread compliments the flavors of the charred crust beautifully, while the smokey shiitakes add a meaty texture. Don't forget about the vibrant green branch lettuce, which tastes slightly of horseradish and adds a wonderfully fresh, herbaceous quality to the pie.
Another thing we like about this pie: the branch lettuce looks as if it is sprouting from a cluster of mushrooms growing out of a walnut-colored earth. Enchanting.
Opening the Dough
After using the Jim Lahey recipe for pizza dough, Sullivan Street Bakery corporate chef Matt Aita stretches the dough into a 10-12 inch in diameter round.
Caramelized Onion and Walnut Puree
Use this awesome Food Lab Method to caramelize your onions in 3 tablespoons of butter. Now combine 2 cups of the cooled caramelized onions, 3/4 cup of the untoasted walnuts, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a food processor. Because the onions may have more or less jus when you cook them, you may need to add more water to your puree until you reach a thick, whipped ricotta-like consistency.
Spread The Love
Now that you have your delectable caramelized onion and walnut puree, spread it evenly over the dough in a relatively thin layer. Make sure the caramelized onion and walnut goodness reaches the edges!
Pick the leaves off of the rosemary sprig and sprinkle over the caramelized onion and walnut base. Now time for the 'shrooms!
Trim the tough stems off of the shiitakes and cut the shiitakes into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the mushroom. You can tear the shiitakes for a more rustic look and texture. Spread the shiitakes evenly over the pizza.
'Tis the Season(ing)
Season the pizza fairly aggressively with salt. And into the oven we go!
The Heat Goes On
Into the oven your shiitake pizza goes. Let your pizza cook until the mushrooms are a little caramelized and golden. Now listen as you hear yourself mutter: "Cheese...what cheese?"