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Lettuce And Black Olive Pizza

ingredients

2 large escaroles
scant 1 oz (20 g) fresh baker's yeast or scant 1/2 oz dried yeast
pinch caster sugar
1 Ib 2 oz (500 g) strong white flour
olive oil
2 doves garlic
1/2 - 1 dried chilli pepper (optional)
15 large black olives, stoned
salt and pepper

method

1. Crumble the yeast into 3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) lukewarm water and add a pinch of sugar. Stir gently. Leave to stand for 10 minutes at warm room temperature or until the surface is covered with foam. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with 1 tsp salt, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp light olive oil.

2. Use your hand or a wooden spoon to stir the yeast and oil, gradually incorporating the flour. When it is all combined, transfer to a lightly floured pastry board and knead energetically for about 5 minutes or until the dough is very light, smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and return to the mixing bowl; place a clean, damp cloth over the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place away from draughts for 30 minutes or longer, until doubled in bulk.

3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a very large saucepan and gently fry the lightly crushed, whole peeled garlic cloves for a minute to flavour the oil, then remove them. Crumble the chilli pepper into the oil, add the esca-role, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper and cook over fairly high heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

4. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to very low and cook with no added liquid for 10 minutes, then take the lid off and stir in the olives; cook over a higher heat for a few minutes to allow all the liquid produced by the lettuce to evaporate.

5. Add a little more salt and pepper and remove from the heat. When the dough has doubled in bulk, preheat the oven to 475°F (240°C) mark 9.

6. Flatten the dough with a floured rolling pin on a floured board and roll out into a disc 12 in (30 cm) in diameter. Place in a well oiled flan tin or quiche dish of the same diameter, pressing the dough with your knuckles and spreading it to line the base and sides.

7. Spread the lettuce and olive mixture evenly over the pizza dough, sprinkle with a very little olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

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