Three years ago, my husband and I moved into our house. One of the first things I did was select a spot for my asparagus bed. Asparagus is a commitment: once planted, you need to wait three years before you can harvest. That means this is the first year I could eat asparagus from my own garden. I celebrated by making this recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, by Deb Perelman. (Buy it here or check out their site, one of my favorite sources for delicious food!)
The recipe is for four servings, but my husband and I can devour a full pizza and he’ll still whine about being hungry, so I recommend taking that with a grain of salt.
Rushed Pizza Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Turn your oven to warm (200-225 degrees) for approximately 5 minutes.
By hand, pour the water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast. I also add a pinch of sugar because I’ve been taught that it helps get the yeast going. Let stand for two minutes (you should see yeast blooms in the water). Add the flour and salt and mix until a “rough, craggy mass forms.” Turn this onto your floured countertop and knead until you have an elastic dough. Put your dough into an olive oil-coated mixing bowl, cover, and place in your warmed oven for 30 minutes. NOTE: the oven should be off. You do not want to cook the dough quite yet.
Shaved Asparagus Pizza
1/2 pound (or whatever you feel comfortable taking from your garden) asparagus
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons of olive oil
pizza dough (see above)
1/2 pound mozzarella (I like fresh, but a bag of Kraft cheese works just fine)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
5-6 chives cut into 1″ pieces
2 tablespoons of cornmeal
Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.
Start by shaving your asparagus (which totally sounds like a euphemism, but isn’t). The book recommends a Y peeler, but I had better luck with a straight peeler. I guess you could also use a mandolin, if you’re not super fond of your fingers. Don’t worry about uniformity here. You’re going to have thicker pieces, and some of the tops may not shave at all, which is fine.
Roll out your pizza dough, and place it on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Or, if you have a fancy pizza stone, you can use that. Brush with the olive oil and evenly spread the garlic over the rolled-out dough. Place mozzarella over the garlic, again spreading evenly, and add the asparagus. Finish by sprinkling the parmesan over top.
Bake in your super hot oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the asparagus should be just starting to color.
Servings: 4 (but maybe two adults who are really hungry)