I first fell in love with the idea of a meattzza (a pizza with a meat base) when I saw Nigella Lawson make one on her TV show Nigellissima. And then, when I stopped eating cheese, I knew I had to create a version that was dairy-free. But what would be the cheese substitute?
Hmmmm. Let me think.
I thought about it for weeks.
Then I hit the answer. It was palm hearts. There they were, standing proudly in their tin in my kitchen cupboard all along.
I'd had palm hearts ('palmitos') on regular pizzas in Argentina in my pre-paleo days, and they give a creamy saltiness to pizza toppings and salads. You could trick yourself into thinking you were eating a soft cheese on top of your meattzza but no, it's just another veggie. Brilliant, right?
The base is made from minced beef and chopped onions, although next time I'd add a pinch of dried thyme in there, too. The sauce is my nightshade-free 'no-mato' sauce, made by simmering and blending together things like beetroot, carrots and onions until smooth. Everyone loved this - a sort of burger/pizza hybrid. It's definitely a regular now in our house.
AIP Paleo Meattzza con Palmitos (Palm Hearts)
400g minced beef
1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped fairly finely
pinch of salt
1 tsp coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of no-mato sauce
handful of black olives
2 sticks of palm hearts, from a tin
big handful of fresh basil leaves, to serve
First step in making the meattzza is to put the minced beef in a large mixing bowl. Next, fry the onions in the coconut oil with a pinch of salt until softened. Allow them to cool and then tip into the bowl with the minced beef.
Mix the beef and onions up with your hands, until just combined. Take out a baking tray and dump the mixture onto the centre of the tray. Next, pat it out into a round shape, about 1cm thick. Pat with your hands until it's flat and then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at gas mark 6/200ºC or until fully cooked through.
Once it's cooked through, lift the meattzza base onto a serving board with a spatula. Heat the no-mato sauce in a small frying pan and then spread it over the top. Slice the palm hearts lengthways and arrange onto the sauced meattzza and then drop black olives over the top. Scatter with the basil leaves and serve straight away, with sweet potato chips or a green salad.