Asparagus season is almost over, but I’ll continue to take advantage of it until the very, very end. I buy asparagus all the time in the spring, almost every time I go to the grocery store. I usually steam it or roast it, but it’s always refreshing to serve it a new way.
Alas, I found a new way to serve asparagus– pizza. I began making my own pizza a few years ago, after I discovered the blog Smitten Kitchen, and although it takes a bit of planning, it really couldn’t be easier to make from scratch at home.
This pizza dough has been published almost everywhere– the appeal of no knead pizza dough that you practically mix together and then forget about for a day is undeniable. I halved Jim Lahey’s recipe, and Smitten Kitchen has a great method to adapt it to different time tables. It tastes good, it’s easy, and you don’t have to knead it or pay attention to it after the dough is mixed. I doubt that I will ever try any other pizza dough recipe.
I recently stumbled upon this recipe for shaved asparagus pizza, and of course I couldn’t resist trying it. I’ve made this several times, and each time I make it, I attempt to shave the asparagus, and I fail every time. Needless to say, if you can manage to shave asparagus, feel free to do that, but I find that thinly slicing it into third or fourths (which does take a bit of time, but probably only ten minutes total) works well too.
The pizza does take a bit longer since you need to slice the asparagus, but I think that it’s time well spent.
Easiest pizza dough:
From Jim Lahey via Bon Appetit
makes enough dough for 2-10 inch square pizzas
Note: This dough is extremely sticky– that’s how it is, so don’t be wary.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
1. Mix together flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add water and stir to combine until the dough begins to come together and form a ball. The dough will look craggy.
2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a draft-free, room temperature area and let rise for about 18 hours.
Spring pizza aka shaved asparagus pizza:
slightly tweaked from Smitten Kitchen
makes about 10 large slices, enough for pizza dough recipe above
Notes: I do not have a pizza stone, and I assume that most people don’t have a pizza stone at their house. If you happen to have a pizza stone, the links I’ve given have instructions how to use it.
Many recipes for pizza mention using an upside down baking sheet as a baking stone. I only have two baking sheets, and I make two pizzas at once, so I’ve never tried this. It would probably work well, but I don’t think it’s necessary either.
1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan, shredded
3 scallions, sliced on bias
1. Slice asparagus, long ways, in third or fourths. Make slices as thin as you possibly can, so you may happen to get more than 3 or 4 slices. There’s no need for the slices to go the full length of the asparagus; it’s fine if it’s piecey.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix olive oil, salt and pepper. Add asparagus and toss to evenly coat.
4. This is when I begin to preheat the oven at 500F.
3. With floured fingers, dump out pizza dough onto a lightly floured work surface; divide dough in half with a knife. On the back of a lightly oiled and floured half sized baking sheet, take one half of the dough and spread it out, spreading dough with lightly floured fingers to about 10 by 10 inch square or a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Repeat with the other half of the dough on another baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over the dough; cover with asparagus. Cook pizzas on two bottom racks for about 14 minutes, until asparagus is roasted, cheese is bubbly with some golden spots and crust is lightly golden. Immediately sprinkle with scallions. Let pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting.