Caesar Salad Pizza

I have a lot of cookbooks.  Also, I love love love to read cookbooks.  Before Andrew was born I loved to go to the bookstore and browse the cookbook section for hours at a time.  (Now it’s in and out before any meltdowns or property damage occur.)  Whenever I get a new cookbook or new cooking magazine, I save it for a time when I can fully enjoy it.  You know, sit down in a quiet place and look through the whole thing undisturbed.  It’s a guilty pleasure for me.  Ben gifted me The Pastry Queen Cookbook for Christmas last year and that’s exactly what with it.  One night I finally broke it out as my bedtime reading material.  We were both laying in bed reading quietly, Ben with his book and me with The Pastry Queen when I suddenly sat up and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, what a GREAT idea!”  Ben nearly fell out of the bed I scared him so bad, and then we could not stop laughing.   I was referring to this recipe.  It combines two of my favorite things – Caesar salad and pizza.  Brilliant, I tell you!

This meal was exactly what I was hoping for.  The Caesar salad was absolutely wonderful and definitely good enough to eat all on its own (in fact, I did just that after finishing my pizza).  The combination of the salad and the crust was reminiscent of the Caesar salad with a baguette slice on the side I like to get for lunch sometimes.  My only slight disappointment was that the crust was much thicker than the picture in the book showed, and I thought the crust to salad ratio was a little too high.  Next time I will cut the quantity of dough in half and roll the crusts out to the same size so they are thinner and more crisp.   I did end up with quite a bit of leftover dressing so if you don’t want the extra, you might consider halving it.  This is a fun twist of a meal and I think it would be great for entertaining as well.

Caesar Salad Pizzas
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For the crust:*
1½ cups warm water (105-115˚ F)
5 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 tsp. honey
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. semolina flour (optional)
1 tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup coarse cornmeal
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 anchovy fillet
2 large eggs, beaten (or ½ cup pasteurized egg product)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Garlic croutons
Parmesan shavings

To make the crust, combine the water, yeast, olive oil, honey, and 3 cups of the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the semolina flour, salt, and red pepper flakes; mix on low speed until combined.  Add in 1 more cup of the flour and mix until a soft dough comes together.  Mix on low speed about 5 minutes to knead.  Add additional flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time as needed until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover and let rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil.  Sprinkle the sheets with cornmeal.  Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  (You can also use a baking stone, preheating it with the oven – no need to oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal just before adding the crusts.)  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, transfer to a work surface, cover with a damp towel and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 3 hours.

With a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough ball into an 8-inch circle.  Brush each dough round lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet or stone and bake until browned and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

To make the dressing, combine the garlic, anchovy, eggs, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and mustard int he bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth.  With the processor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube in a thin, steady stream.  Pour the dressing into a bowl, stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the salad, combine the lettuce and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.  Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss to coat; add more dressing as needed.  Place a generous amount of salad on top of each warm pizza crust.  Top with croutons and Parmesan shavings, and freshly ground pepper if desired.

*For thin crusts, halve the amount of dough but roll to the same diameter.  They will need less time to bake.

Source: adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

32 Responses

  1. I am also a cookbook reading fanatic. My favorite kind of cookbooks are more than just recipes – they’re stories too. You should try the White Dog Cafe Cookbook – it’s from a popular Philadelphia restaurant with an international theme – it has sister restaurants all over the world. The recipes are amazing and the stories are also amazing. My amazon wishlist is so long and there’s a definite food theme. Cookbooks / food memoirs are clearly my genre of choice but I have to limit myself to drooling at them for the time-being.

  2. Hey Annie! I always feel a bit funny when someone asks me what books I’ve read in the past months and I respond with titles of cookbooks! So glad I’m not the only one!!

  3. That IS a brilliant idea! I seriously cannot wait to try this.

  4. This looks yummy! But is it difficult to eat? I’m imagining the salad falling off of the crust. lol

  5. I just ordered this cookbook the other day and can’t wait for it to get here! Have you heard about the cook-through Ashley (Delish) and Shawnda (Foodie Bride) are doing with TPQ?

    • Yeah, I heard about that. I’m not really into any of the baking groups. It sounds fun but I just prefer to make whatever I want, whenever I want with no restrictions or deadlines.

  6. If your crust is soft enough (and thin enough) you can bend the slice of pizza lengthwise and your salad (mostly) stays on top. CPK has a Tricolore Salad Pizza which I love and make at home and it’s pretty much finger food.

  7. I love the Pastry Queen cookbook….but I’m rather partial being from Texas! FYI, tell your husband that Rather (Pastry Queen) also has a Christmas bookbook published that is a delight…maybe you will find this one under your tree come December 25th. I’m a newbie to your blog…love it.

    One of my favorite cookbooks is by Art Smith…I think the name is “Back To The Table” – lots of Southern recipes. He used to be the personal chef of Opra Winfrey but has since moved on to other endeavors.

    • Judy, she has other books as well besides this one and the Christmas one. They will all be on my list this year, if I don’t buy them sooner!

  8. I love this cookbook!! I’ve made the caramel brownies and they are to die for…seriously yummy.

  9. Annie! I LOVE your blog and I absolutely love the idea for this recipe. I have tried it before and thought it was a great combination of two delicious foods. I can’t wait to try the recipe you’ve listed here.

  10. I love that!

    Have a nice day!

  11. I was going to ask about how to eat it, so I’m glad to have your answer. I wonder if somehow a person could make the pizza crust in the shape of taco shells. Maybe by draping it over something about half way through the baking. Then your wonderful salad would become finger food. And, by the way, with Romaine growing in our garden, we’ve had Caesar salads about 6 times in the last 2 weeks!

  12. That picture is beautiful! I’ve never made from scratch caesar dressing before, but I think this one is going on my menu for next week 🙂

  13. Oh man… that looks so delicious!! What an awesome idea!!!

  14. Oooh, I definitely go to bookstores and spend lots of time perusing all of the cookbooks. When I am feeling particularly daring I also whip out my camera phone and snap pictures of any recipes that really call to me, haha.

    Caesar salad pizza is pretty much brilliant. I will definitely be making it soon!

  15. It’s the perfect weather for pizza! I love the idea of a salad on top. It’s like a breadstick on the side, but ten times better! Hehe. I made grilled pizza for the first time last week, and it was AWESOME!

  16. I’m a huge Rather fan; thanks for testing a recipe from the book! 🙂

  17. I am also a cookbook reading fanatic. It actually started quite young for me – I ruined one of my mom’s cookbooks when I was younger…

  18. This has been my favorite cookbook for two years now! I had no idea, though, that she had others until I clicked on the link above. I think Christmas might be coming early to my house;) I appreciate all the time you put into your blog so my family can eat diversely and eat well!

  19. all i would eat while pregnant is caesar salad on everything..on top of burgers, fish, psta…you name it it had a caesar on top of it!! i found a chicken caesar piadina pizza from bertuccis here in Boston and i ate it twice a week i think! The dressing they use has a little kick to it they use it as a sauce for the pizza top with fresh cheese and chicken and then put the caesar drizzled with a little dressing…to die for! I cant wait to try this recipe! i would love to be able to make it at home!!!

  20. Felt so much better reading this post, thought I was the only one. I read cookbooks like a book, I sometimes read thru the recipes before I bookmark it. I can’t afford to buy many but my local library is awesome. I did get David Leibovitz’s Ready for Dessert, so many bookmarks I think I need to break the piggy bank for my own copy.

  21. Someone above mentioned the caramel brownies from The Pastry Queen – they are right, they are the absolute best brownies. People go crazy for them! She does have a Christmas one and a Parties/Get Together one. I have the parties one and there are some really excellent recipes in there as well – my favorite being the Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Butter Icing 🙂

  22. That looks wonderful, Annie! I love pizza with a salad, so why not combine it. 🙂


  23. I’m crazy for cookbooks – I must have close to a thousand. I love reading them and getting ideas. I also have an Andrew as well and my days of lingering in bookstores ended six years ago! The salad pizza has been around NY for a very long time – but it is a great idea. I love The Pastry Queen cookbooks and if I had to downsize my lot – she’d be definite keepers. Love your blog – had it bookmarked for a while and just caught up with reading.

  24. What food magazines do you read? Just curious. 😉

  25. I’ve got a big head of romaine in my garden that is just begging to be made into a caesar salad pizza! Thanks for the idea!

  26. I’d like one of these right…….NOW! Love that story about your hubby almost falling out of bed! 😉

  27. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your website! Your recipes are delicious, your presentation is great, and your photography is wonderful! Thank you for all the recipes you share.

  28. What a fun pizza!

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