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Kelp Crust Pizza with Roasted Oysters

Contributed by The Briny Babe, your guide to Maine oysters. The Briny Babe captures the beauty of oysters through photographs, shares the stories of their growers, talks about the challenges facing their environment, and shares lip-smacking recipes, and gives you tips on ways you can create your very own oyster adventure. 

“Seaweed” and “pizza” aren’t two words I thought I would ever hear together. Then again, up until a few years ago, most of us would have balked at the idea of making pizza crust out of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli.

I know what you’re thinking—“isn’t the kelp going to make the pizza fishy?” The short answer: no. The longer answer is that the kelp in this recipe is actually dehydrated and used just like flour. The kelp imparts the pizza crust with the umami flavor profile that is found in seaweed—a smoky savoriness that happens to pair exceptionally well with cheese and certain vegetables, like mushrooms. Oddly enough, the umami flavor of kelp has all the makings to be a sensational pizza ingredient. Think of this as eating a giant Oyster Rockefeller or a White Clam Pizza, with a few more carbs.

I got the idea for doing kelp-crust pizza when I saw an Instagram post from Ada’s Restaurant in Rockland, Maine, about a Kelp Casarecce the chefs had made using kelp from Atlantic Sea Farms. If pasta made with kelp could taste good, then I knew kelp-crust pizza would be delicious.

The kelp in this recipe is meant to act like flour—it is a binding agent that just so happens to impart flavor and texture. In fact, the kelp does not need to be rehydrated or blanched prior to assembling your pizza dough. Instead, I used a spice grinder (you can also use a blender) to essentially make kelp flour.

Further adding to the umami flavor profile of this recipe, I had to add in some oysters! I roasted the oysters separately in my wakame miso butter and then added the roasted oysters to the pizza during the last two minutes of cooking. I opted not to add raw oysters to the top of my dough initially because, like with any pizza, I wanted to omit adding any ingredient with excess liquid to avoid the dough from becoming soggy.

The possibilities for this pizza are endless. You can top your pizza with sautéed kelp, mushrooms, prosciutto—whatever your heart desires!

Kelp Crust Pizza with Roasted Oysters
Maine Oysters

INGREDIENTS

For the Dry Active Yeast
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

For the Dough
1 cup 00 flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dried wakame (or skinny kelp, sugar kelp), ground into a flour-like consistency (roughly 1.2 ounces)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Dry Active Yeast mixture (see above)

For the Toppings
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or more, depending on your preference!)
1/4 cup pesto (See our pesto recipe)
Handful shredded spinach
12 roasted oysters, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Kelp Pizza Dough
Kelp Crust Pizza

METHOD

To Activate Yeast

  1. Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup 110-115° F water. To get your water to this temperature, I placed my water in the microwave for roughly 30 seconds. The water should be lukewarm to the touch.
  2. Stir in dry active yeast until completely dissolved. Place a small plate over the cup of yeast for roughly 10 minutes to allow the yeast to foam vigorously. Here is a great video that helped me learn how to properly activate my yeast!

To Roast the Oysters
(This step can be done prior to or concurrently with baking your kelp dough).

  1. Shuck the oysters. (Here's a good How To video).
  2. Place 1 teaspoon (or more!) of butter on your oysters. (I used my wakame miso butter for this recipe). Place oysters on a baking tray.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 425° F. Roast your oysters for 5 minutes, or until the butter melts and the oysters swell.
    Remove the oysters from the oven. Then, remove the oyster meats from their shells. Be careful, the oyster shells will be extremely hot!
  4. Roughly chop the oyster meats and place in a bowl to prepare to add to your pizza.

To Prepare the Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, kelp, and salt.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the activated yeast mixture, 15mL (roughly 1 tablespoon) of lukewarm water, and 4 grams (roughly 1 teaspoon) of olive oil. Pour this combination into your larger bowl containing the kelp and flour mixture.
  3. Knead the mixture with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. If the mixture becomes clumpy or dry, add in water one tablespoon at a time until smooth.
  5. Cover your dough with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the cloth, then knead the rested dough for 3 minutes.
  7. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball.
  8. Place rolled dough onto a heavily floured surface, cover with a dampened cloth, and let it rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. If you prefer to refrigerate, the rolled dough can be placed in cylinder Tupperware with the lid cracked for 8 to 24 hours. (If you choose to refrigerate your dough, ensure you remove it from the refrigerator and place on a heavily floured surface for 30 to 45 minutes before you shape it).

To Make the Pizza

  1. To make your pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily-floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then use your hands to shape it into rounds or squares.
  2. Top your pizza with pesto, or a sauce of your choosing.
    Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella or a cheese of your choosing. Ensure the cheese is evenly distributed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425° F. I roasted my pizza on a baking sheet that was flipped over. I sprinkled ½ cup of flour on the baking sheet before placing the rolled dough on top of it prior to placing the pizza on the oven. Using a slip mat or a pizza stone are also good methods!
  4. Place the pizza in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted but before your crust becomes crowned in any areas. Remove and top with roasted oysters, shredded spinach, and grated parmesan. Bake for another 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, top with a swirl of olive oil, slice, and enjoy!

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