Yes, y’all, I was gettin’ back to those (faux) Southern roots with this recipe. Inspired by the okra I had purchased at the farmers’ market….
…I thought to myself, “Self, what can I do to put a twist on the classic “stewed okra-and-tomatoes” dish that I would normally revert to. (Not that there is anything wrong with it, of course. As we all know, sometimes simple is best!)
Naturally, tomatoes = tomato sauce = pizza in the associative connections within my brain, so the idea for Okra Pizza was born.
But then I thought, “Why not make this even MORE amazing and make a special crust….and not just any special crust…a sweet potato* crust?”
So. Well. I did.
Even if okra scares you or you think it’s slimy and gross (it isn’t…at least not in this recipe), you should still make the crust. It is sweet-taterific…!
First, I took a sweet tater……that looked bizarrely like a seal or manatee.
I roasted it up for about an hour at 400 degrees…
…and tried to restrain myself from gobbling it all up right then and there.
Into a large bowl, I added some instant active dry yeast to warm water.
Let it bubble for a hot second and then whisked it up.
Eat the skin. (Obviously.)
To the now-orange yeast….
…I added a little olive oil and agave (I would have used honey if I’d had it, but we were out!)…….and a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. (Using a ratio of 2:1 is my general rule of thumb on baking with wheat flour.)
Still a little gummy on the bottom?
Add more flour!
Keep on stirring…
(Well, actually, the spoon had left the building—I mean, bowl—by now, and the hands were a-workin’ that dough.)
Still MORE flour…(1/4 c. at a time)
Finally! A beautiful doughball/lump.
Removed for a moment…
…and then returned to the now-clean bowl.
Let the crust sit for a few hours. (Or eight, if you forget about it. Not that that would ever happen to me.)
I only wanted to make one pizza, and this recipe made a HUGE amount of dough, so I took half of it…
I spread the other half of the dough out on a baking sheet. I’m not one to worry about rolling it out beautifully or anything….just get your hands in there and push it around.
I parbaked the crust just until it started to rise (about 3-4 minutes) in a 450 degree oven…Then, I topped it off with a generous helping of tomato sauce….…add spices if yours doesn’t already come seasoned.I went ahead and added some Creole seasoning for a little extra Southern-inspired fun. I also added some diced onion…
…because when you stew tomatoes and okra, you usually add some sweet Vidalia onions in the mix. [At least in my mind you do.]
For the crust (double-batch):
1 package instant dry yeast
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey or agave
1 tsp. salt
1 cup roasted, mashed sweet potato
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
[more flour as needed]
For the pizza:
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup diced sweet onion, or more to taste
Cajun or Creole seasoning (optional)
3-4 cups sliced okra “stars”
1 cup grated mozzarella & Parmesan cheeses
1. Combine yeast and hot water in a large mixing bowl. Allow yeast to “bloom”/bubble for about 3 minutes.
2. Add mashed sweet potato, olive oil, and agave or honey to the yeasty water. Stir well to combine.
3. Add the wheat flour and mix well.
4. Add the all-purpose flour in 1/4 cup increments, kneading well after each addition, until the dough is not sticky or gummy to the touch.
5. Remove dough from bowl, clean bowl, and then return the dough. [Or just put it into another bowl...]
6. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
8. Par-bake crust until just beginning to rise (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from oven.
9. Top crust with tomato sauce, seasoning, onions, okra, and cheeses.
10. Bake until hot and melty!