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Americans consume more than 3 billion pizzas a year. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day and over a quarter of young males are eating it daily.

info courtesy restaurantmealprices.com

I’m wondering how many are homemade? A minute fraction?  (If you’d like, take a little class right here on the blog and make your own “regular” pizza right in your kitchen just like my student in the photo below.)

IMG_7618

While I always adored pizza (I was raised on Chicago Thin Crust, worked at the Aurelio’s extension in Macomb, IL most of the way through college, and my kids were weaned on pizza–there.), Dave and I were probably mostly like the rest of the best, ordering and picking up to appease the hunger of the hordes before or after soccer, or, on the rare expensive occasion, waiting with bated breath for the delivery guy.  Even now, particularly if I’ve got a wretched cold, the local pizza place is on “speed dial” for online ordering. Generous tip?  Of course. I had a kid who did this during undergraduate school. To say nothing of my husband doing it at the same time in HIS life. People live on that cash.

These days, when I don’t want to order, but don’t have time or energy for making dough from scratch, I go for the fast and individual naan pizzas I can make in the oven or on the grill. (Naan comes in larger sizes, too, if you want.)

Wondering about naan? (pronounced like “nah” with an n at the end.) You can buy it –chewy Indian leavened flatbread– in the bread section of your local grocery store; it comes in packages of 4 or 6. I throw a larger bunch into the basket at Costco and freeze them, taking out a couple  to thaw as I need them. (Lay each naan out on a tray to thaw for an hour or two ahead of time.) One of my readers reminds me you can make your own naan, of course. Let me know if you try it!  If you want the scoop on how Indians use this  bread, here’s what I found and it makes a lot of sense:

Bread Versus Rice

Good news: you can stop panicking every time a waiter in an Indian restaurant asks you if you’d like bread or rice. “When it comes to roti or naan versus rice…90% of the time it comes down to personal preference,” Nakul says.  “Actually, it’s a common thing to either be a ‘roti’ person or a ‘rice’ person — so much so that it was one of the things my wife and I discussed very early into dating each other.” But he adds there are some traditional pairings. Rice goes with “everything saucy.” Think butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, daal and anything with a “wet” curry. “This is because of the level of wetness — the sauce can easily coat the rice, ensuring each and every bit is full of flavor,” he explains. Breads like naan and roti pair well with tandoori items like Badmaash’s Hot, Spicy Indian Sausage (a kebab) and dry-sautéed or roasted dishes like aloo gobi.  “You typically would not want to have drier items, such as aloo gobi, with rice — the flavors do not mix into the rice,” he explains, adding that eating tandoori meats with rice is like eating barbecued chicken with rice.

courtesy Megan O. Steintrager on ZAGAT

So kebabs and roasted dishes are perfect for naan. Grilled and torn or cut, the small versions are also useful American-style a la pita for hefty dips like hummus or pimento cheese and definitely make an easy open-face sandwich or taco. Be creative…

photo courtesy Costco, which is exactly where I bought mine

Naan definition:

a leavened, often tear-shaped flatbread of India, baked in a tandoor.

…be like me, and use the mini-naan for pizzas!  The little shrimp versions I’m posting today were made in my oven on my trusty sheet pan, but I’ve also made this pizza on the grill during hot weather. (Link and photo below.)  Instead of old school red sauce or even white sauce,  here I brush naan with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and use a homemade fresh herb pesto (includes green onions–see recipe below) as the foundation for the toppings, in this case cooked shrimp, feta, kalamata olives, and fresh tomatoes.  Certainly you can try jarred pesto and/or your own favorite toppings, though raw meats, fish, or seafood should be cooked before adding them to the pizzas.  Dave and I both really liked the additional small amount of pesto dropped on at the end on top of the toppings.

CALORIE/CARB INFO:  By the way, my round figures indicate these pizzas weigh in at about 250 calories each. The mini naans alone are 24 grams of carbs each. They fit right into my #Drop10TODAY plan, which allows 400 calories for lunch and 500 for dinner–so there’s still room for a big salad with a drizzle of dressing.

Grilled naan pizza belowCaramelized Onion and Gruyere Baby Naan Pizzas:

Whichever way you choose to make your naan pizza, I think you’ll be happy. Try this:

“BABY NAAN” SHRIMP AND FETA PIZZAS

makes 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 purchased, pre-cooked mini naan —  see above
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, dried oregano
  • Pesto made of of finely chopped fresh basil, fresh parsley, green onion, and garlic*
  • 16 small cooked shrimp, peeled, without tails
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped and seeded (Cut into fourths first, squeeze to remove seeds, and then chop.)
  • 8 chopped, pitted kalamata olives

*Pesto:

  • 6 leaves fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions (white and green parts)
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

Mince all and stir together. Alternately, pulse together in the food processor until just blended.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Place 4 mini naan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Brush naan lightly with olive oil and sprinkle well with salt, pepper, and dried oregano.  Spread each naan evenly with a tablespoon or so of the pesto and add 4 shrimp to each. Artistically, naturally. Crumble feta over all the shrimp and dot pizzas with chopped tomato. Sprinkle with oregano.  Add a bit of the chopped olives at the center of each naan.  Sprinkle each pizza with just a bit more pesto and another grind or two of pepper. Bake 425 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until crisp and hot through.  Serve happily hot, warm, or at room temperature.

{printable recipe}

Sing a new song,

Alyce