Monday, November 7, 2016

My fucking food bag: the universal, infinitely scalable miracle recipe for gluten-free pizza (feat. carpaccio)


I’m here to tell you that I have found the perfect recipe for gluten-free pizza and focaccia. But first, by way of starter, this.


Vittore Carpaccio’s Sermon of St Stephen (1514) is alleged to be the inspiration behind the naming of the raw meat dish created by chef Giuseppe Cipriani in 1950, at the time of an influential exhibition in Venice of the painter’s works. The Sermon, said Cipriani, reminded him of the colours of the dish, which is one of the simplest in our cuisine. Hence, the carpaccio.

Firstly, you slice a cow very thinly. You need to make arrangements with your butcher about this. They’ll need to put a 400 gram sirloin steak in the freezer for a couple of hours, so it’s firm enough to cut into slices of around one millimetre or so. I got mine cut even thinner, but in hindsight it was probably overkill. This is what 150 grams of the stuff looks like.


You squeeze a couple of lemons, mix them with 75 mls of extra virgin olive oil. Pour generously over the meat. Add salt and pepper. Garnish with rocket (if you have it – I didn’t) and slivers of Parmigiano (we've been over how you're not allowed to accept substitutes).


You can serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to a day, in which case the slices will darken in colour and look more like cooked meat. Which I suppose is handy if you have squeamish guests.

In spite of the appearance of the word ‘sirloin’ in the recipe, the dish is very cheap as you can feed four people with roughly $12 worth of meat at today’s market prices.

Now, why is this preparation safe, some of you may ask. Beef steak is a safe cut, as it doesn’t come into contact with gut bacteria. By contrast, no part of the chicken is safe to eat raw. By all means, ask your butcher to confirm this though.

Now ,for the gluten-free pizza base I must thank David Clegg, who proffered the recipe when I asked around on Twitter after a series of failed attempts. David in turn sourced it from the Coeliac Disease Facebook group. We have a dear friend with the disease and wanted her to fully partake in the shared ritual of home-made pizza feasting. But even if you’re just intolerant – I’m not here to judge – or love gluten but would like the try the quickest and easiest pizza recipe known to humankind, I suggest you give this a try. It’s almost bafflingly good.

There are two ingredients:

1. Gluten free flour, or rather baking mix. I use Healtheries, which costs $8/kg.

2. Plain yogurt.

The recipe itself is a miracle of simplicity and is infinitely scalable. You use as much yogurt as you do flour. That’s it. In the following example, I’ve used one cup of each.

First, you put the baking mix in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt per cup. Mix. Then add the yogurt. Mix with your hands. No kneading is required. It will take you two minutes if you stop halfway to consider the state of human affairs. Otherwise, less than that.

The resulting dough will look something like this.


Leave the dough to rise in a cool, dark place for – haha, fooled you, it doesn’t need to rise either. It’s ready to go as is. Turn on the oven at 200°C. Spread the dough into a disk over a tray lined with baking paper using your palm and fingers, and some more baking mix if it’s too sticky (but it shouldn’t be, unless the yogurt was unusually runny).


Apply your topping of choice, using available ingredients and your imagination, or as discussed here and here. This is a standard margherita.


The look doesn’t convey how soft it is inside. It tastes rather like pizza al taglio as opposed to the thinner kind I’ve tried to reproduce before. Without topping, it makes for an ugly but delicious focaccia. I suspect it could be turned into gluten-free crackers, too, although there are probably better ways of achieving that particular life goal.

I haven’t calculated costs exactly but as customary in this series it’s a very cheap meal, especially compared to the cost of those ready-made bases that look (and taste) like spongy frisbees.

As always, enjoy.






I have a new article up at Overland – on the subject of whether it is time we nationalised Facebook – to coincide with the magazine’s subscription drive. Check it out.

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