I talked some friends with a pizza oven into testing out a series of white pies, to feature the fresh taste of asparagus against a simple backdrop. Here mozzarella provides the base, with tangy lumps of goat cheese to offset the green spears. When it comes out of the oven, it's sparked up with lemon zest, spicy chili flakes, and briny anchovies (optional, but man I love them). Hello, Spring! - deensiebat —deensiebat
Test Kitchen Notes
This pizza should be renamed Seriously Delicious Springtime Asparagus Pizza. I picked up a ball of fresh dough at Whole Foods for $2.99 along with the rest of the ingredients, all of which were inexpensive and easy to find. When we got home after a long day at the park the pizza took mere minutes to assemble. I didn't have the chance to pre-heat my oven for two hours so I settled for one. Since I don't have a pizza stone -- my husband threw ours out because he thought it was dirty when it was, in fact, seasoned -- I elected to go my usual route and bake the pizza on my jelly roll pan, lining it with a thin layer of olive oil and cornmeal. My husband and I had a debate about the anchovies -- we like them, but didn't want them whole -- so I chopped 2 oz. of anchovies and tossed them in a bowl with lemon zest and chili flakes before scattering it on top of the hot pizza. I am glad we did this, the anchovies added a nice salty edge that contrasted really well with the bright lemon and asparagus flavors. The mozzarella and goat cheese melted beautifully and the asparagus roasted nicely, becoming tender, but not overly wilted, in the hot oven. If some people opt out of using the anchovies I would recommend a sprinkle of sea salt or Kosher salt to make up for the nice salty bite the anchovies bring. I can't wait to make this again and I bet it would work well with other spring and summer vegetables. - KelseytheNaptimeChef —The Editors
ball pizza dough, ~12 oz
pencil thin asparagus spears, cut or broken in half and tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and salt
shredded mozzarella, loosely packed
zest of 1 lemon
oil-packed anchovies (can be increased or omitted, as desired)
Preheat your oven (with a stone, if you have) to 500 degrees for 2 hours.
Place the pizza dough on a lightly-floured counter top, and press outward into a thick disk (leaving a 1" unpressed area along the edge). Pick up the disk and let it drape over the backs of your hands, letting gravity help you stretch it into a 12-14" disk. Place the dough on a peel (or overturned cookie sheet or cutting board) that's lightly dusted with semolina or other type of flour.
Scatter the mozzarella on top of the dough, then the asparagus and clumps of the goat cheese in whatever artful pattern you desire. Side the pizza onto the preheated stone in your oven, and bake ~7-10 minutes, until the crust browns and the cheese melts.
Remove the pizza from the oven, and scatter the lemon zest and chili flakes on top. Add anchovies, if desired. Slice and serve.