I know, I know, I made this nettle bacon pizza a few weeks ago and haven't gotten around to posting the recipe until now! The day I made the pizza with a friend, we also wrote some short stories together, and of course mine was influenced by nettle-brain, the state of thinking about cooking and eating nettles (true fact).
The prompt we used was: Once upon a time there was.... Every day.... Until one day..... and then..... and then....until finally.....
Once upon a time there was a patch of nettles. Every day it looked forward to stinging unfortunate human visitors. Until one day, it got picked by a smart person wearing thick gloves and long sleeves and pants. And then it got put into a giant tub and sent to the farmer's market to be sold to yuppies for $7/lb. And then a bespectacled young lady took to the bin of nettles, earnestly plucking the choicest of stems while her friends mocked her unusual culinary choices. Until finally, she went home and cooked a nettle and bacon pizza to woo her cute man friend with such fine delicacies.
Nettles look and sound scary, but a quick boil renders them harmless and yields a nuttier, earthier substitute for various cooked greens such as spinach, chard, kale. Searching for nettle recipes on the internet results in a wide variety of recipes from soups to risotto to pesto to pizza. I settled on pizza because I had eaten a nettle pizza with a poached egg on it at a local restaurant a few years back, and had always wanted to give it a try at home. Since I already had some sourdough starter in the fridge that makes a lovely pizza crust, I got to work at once.
3 (8 oz) rounds pizza dough (I use King Arthur's recipe with my sourdough starter), though if you're running low on time, I promise only to judge you a tiny bit if you use a prepared dough such as Trader Joe's pizza dough
1 cup marinara (homemadeeeeeee, right? right!)- I had 1 cup portions in the freezer from the last time I made a large batch of marinara, just thaw 1 cup of sauce ahead of time
3 cups cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano)
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms (use raw, or sauté them in 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease, yum)
about 2/3-1 cup of cooked nettles with the liquid thoroughly squeezed out (from 1/3 lb weight stem-on-uncooked nettles)
Before you begin pizza construction, preheat your oven as hot as it will go (500 or 550, usually), and place a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack.
Roll out each piece of dough into 10-12 inch circles and place them on a sheet of parchment paper. I’ve had more than one near-disaster of pizza-on-pizza-peel-violence, so I ‘cheat’ and usually just bake the pizza on the parchment paper, which will turn black but should not catch fire (at least mine doesn’t!). The pizza peel still gets in on the pizza action as I use it to transfer pizza-and-parchment to the preheated pizza stone, but I don’t have to worry about the crust sticking to the peel.
Evenly spread 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce over each crust, leaving a border along the edges. Sprinkle on the Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, then top with the nettles and mushrooms and bacon and sprinkle on the Mozzarella. Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone in your preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust and cheese are lightly browned. Cool for a few minutes before slicing.
I can personally testify that this pizza is exceptionally tasty the next morning reheated with a fried egg on top.