The challenge for this week’s the Recipe ReDux blog group was to come up with a healthy pizza. My response is the Coca – a Healthy Pizza. Each summer for the past few years my family has stayed for a week-end in Barcelona. There are many eye candy food shops and restaurants, and there is one place I particularly like to walk by and ogle at, and sometimes buy a treat. It’s a bread shop called Forn Boix on a street named Carrer de l‘ Hospital. The shop is brightly lit, clean, and the bread and other baked goods are stored in glass displays so you can clearly see everything. There are multiple types and varieties of bread, pastries, baguette sandwiches, croissants, and then there are cocas, too.
Coca is a type of pizza from the Northeast part of Spain, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Unlike the traditional round pizza topped with loads of cheese, the coca is an elongated oval shape, and if it has cheese, it is little. The base of these savory pastries is caramelized onions and the toppings are various. For the most part they are vegetables: garlic, tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, olives. Other ingredients may include shrimp, anchovies, butifara (sausage), chorizo, ham, and whatever else one might come up with. Cocas can be very simple with just a couple of ingredients, or they may be more complex with a range of ingredients, like this coca by Chef Jose Andres. At any rate, I haven’t met a coca I didn’t like.
Next time you’re in the mood for pizza, but you want one that’s good for your healthy eating habits, make a coca. The rich flavor that comes from the olive oil and the caramelized onions offsets the need for cheese. I used a bare minimum amount of cheese and no one seemed to miss it. (*Note – the dough is a modified version of Jose Andres’ recipe).
- 1-1/4 cup white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 cup non-fat, or low-fat milk (temperature 105° to 115°)
- 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-3/4 cups finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 5 ounces asparagus, washed, ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese
- 1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Mix the dough ingredients together, adding more flour if necessary. Knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 6 minutes. Lightly oil a medium bowl and place the dough in it, and let it rise about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Start to prepare the toppings while the dough is rising. You will need two sauté pans.
- Pour 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive into the first pan and add 1-1/3 cups chopped onion. Sauté the onions until they are transparent and then add 2 teaspoons minced garlic and continue cooking until the onions are lightly caramelized. Place the onions in a small bowl and set them aside.
- Using the same pan, add about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and pan fry the asparagus until they are 3/4 cooked. Set them aside.
- Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons olive and then add the 1-1/2 cups onion. Sauté them until they start to look translucent, and then add the garlic, the red peppers and the green peppers. Cook them until they are tender.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out two long oval shapes and place both on a 16-1/2 by 11-1/2 inch sheetpan. Cover and let the dough rise about 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to °425.
- Spread the plain onion mix on the asparagus coca (you will add the asparagus and feta in the last five minutes of baking). Spread the pepper mixture on the second coca, and then place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top the onion coca with the asparagus and feta. Return to the top shelf of the oven for another 5 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
- After you remove the cocas from the oven place them on a cookie rack and allow them to cool, or eat hot fresh out of the oven. Sprinkle with asparagus pizza with the Parmesan cheese. Use the optional red pepper flakes for either coca.
This Recipe is posted at at Hearth and Soul, Tuesdays Table, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Simple Supper Tuesday, and Full Plate Thursdays