Asparagus season is a highlight of the foodie calendar, and that season is nearly upon us. Yay!
Pizza is one of my favorite things to make, so it was no surprise that "pizza" was one of the first things I checked in the index of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
I was intrigued by the idea of putting asparagus on pizza. Deb's pictures of the pizza looked so green and vibrant, and it made me eager to try this fresh twist on pizza.
Shaving the asparagus was simple and did not take too long, and it helped that the asparagus was more crisp. If your asparagus is softer, it will be a little harder to peel. Don't get frustrated if your asparagus ribbons are uneven in texture because it does not matter one bit. This pizza came together quickly. It was a nice change to have less clean-up since this pizza did not involve the usual tomato sauce and multitude of toppings!
Paired with a glass of pinot grigio, this pizza made a delectable dinner. The pizza is cheesy with a combination of Parmesan Reggiano and mozzarella, and it is topped with asparagus. The asparagus gets wilted and lightly charred in the oven, and the pizza is garnished with scallions. (By the way, shaved raw asparagus with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper tastes really good!)
This will make a perfect light spring dinner to enjoy on the patio.
Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Yields 1 12" pizza
Pizza dough (3/4 lb.)
1/2 lb. asparagus
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/2 lb. shredded mozzarella
1 scallion, sliced
Place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 500ºF for at least an hour.
First, prepare the asparagus. You do not need to snap off the ends because they will be your "handles" as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board. Using your standard vegetable peeler, create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the asparagus stalk. Repeat with the remaining stalks. No worries if some of the pieces are unevenly thick. The mixed textures give the pizza character! Discard the tough ends. Toss the peelings with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Second, assemble the pizza. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour or semolina flour, and roll out the pizza dough to a 12-14" circle. Brush extra virgin olive oil lightly over the surface. Then, sprinkle the pizza dough with the Parmesan Reggiano and then with the mozzarella. Pile the asparagus on top. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the pizza are browned, the cheese is bubbly, and the asparagus is lightly charred.
Remove from the oven, immediately sprinkle with scallions, and then slice and enjoy!
Source: Directly adapted from Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen Cookbook