When we go out for pizza, it’s almost always to a branch of Pizza Express. In my opinion, this chain of restaurants is the best place to get pizza in England. Of course, there is no match for the real thing as served in Italy, but having been to Italy more than once, I can testify that Pizza Express gets pretty darn close. I’m a huge fan of their Giardiniera pizza, and my husband almost always chooses their Pizza Florentine, featuring an egg in the centre surrounded by spinach.
Now this may sound odd, but not only is the combination of spinach and egg a healthy one, it’s also very delicious. The Pizza Express Florentine also has olives, but as my husband really loathes olives (no, loathes is not too strong a word), he usually asks for red pepper instead.
I wanted to make an homage to my husband’s favourite pizza at home for a long time and I finally got round to it a couple weeks ago. It turned out so well, I’ve already made it again! I’m sure the chefs at Pizza Express would protest that this is not anywhere near their recipe, but I want to stress this is only an homage and not an attempt at duplication. My version does taste good though. My husband is very diplomatic, but he speaks his mind when it comes to food.
When we make pizza at home I usually make the dough in the bread maker, but of course you can use or make absolutely any pizza crust you like for this recipe.
(quantities are for one medium pizza to serve 1)
pizza dough for 1 medium ‘personal’ pizza
about ¼ cup tomato sauce or passata (sieved tomatoes)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces of spinach, lightly steamed and drained of all liquid
about 1 tablespoon grated vegetarian Parmesan style cheese
about ½ cup grated vegetarian Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup thinly sliced red peppers (or 2 tablespoons sliced olives), both are optional
1 large free range, pastured or organic egg
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare your pizza dough and and spread with the tomato sauce or passata to within about one inch of the edge. Allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to about 375 to 400 ℉ (or about 180 to 190℃) depending on how fierce your oven is.
Remove the pizza from the fridge and scatter all over with the grated vegetarian Parmesan style cheese and oregano.
Arrange the peppers over the pizza, leaving a space in the centre for the egg. Place the spinach on the pizza in a circle about three inches from the edge, leaving a round hole in the centre.
Break the egg in a dish, and carefully pour it into the hole in the centre of the spinach.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over top of the pizza, avoiding the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, egg is cooked to your liking and the cheese is beginning to brown up as well.