We know, we know, asparagus isn't really in season anymore, but the Tarts who rarely show up to a party on time, pay no mind. Besides, California asparagus has been taking a hit in recent years thanks to its cheaper competitors in Mexico and Peru. So when we saw some lingering asparagus at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, we pounced on it, eager to boost Cali's market share...ever so slightly. Your welcome Spears.
Deb, who's always on time, posted this recipe for shaved asparagus pizza back in May when the Spears were in their prime...way before they were charged with sexual harassment by their farmer...wait...security guard. Hold it. I've got my Spears confused.
We adapted her recipe, adding poblano and leeks to ramp up the flavor. We also opted for a whole-wheat crust that uses equal parts whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour. You can choose 12 oz for a thinner crust or 1 lb. for thicker crust. Just click the link below for the 12 oz version.
I had just purchased new yeast that I couldn't find anywhere in my newly organized kitchen (why is it harder to find stuff when you're organized?), so I grabbed some old stuff I had stashed in a drawer. Thank Goddess one of us took a closer look...
Apparently, it was ancient...
Ye olde Hub ran out and grabbed us some non-toxic yeast. Thanks Ham!
Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
(for 1 lb. dough)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick rising yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup hot water (120-130˚F)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. (We didn't follow the temp guideline...shocking, we know.) With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 more Tbsp. warm water. If too sticky, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. Process until dough forms a ball and then process for 1 minute to knead.
The recipe then calls to transfer to a well-floured surface, etc...but we just put it in a bowl and covered with a towel and let it sit for about 20 min.
Shaved Asparagus and Poblano Pizza
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 lb. whole-wheat dough
1/2 lb. asparagus
1 poblano pepper
1/2 cup leeks, sliced into half moons
1/2 lb. mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
5 basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 500˚. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven.
Trim and seed your poblano and slice into full moons...or whatever shape that is...
Next, the most tedious and frustrating part...shaving the asparagus. Try and buy the thickest asparagus you can find. Ours was very thin which proved to be maddening. Grab each spear by the base, lay flat on a cutting board and with a vegetable peeler, shave by pulling from the base all the way to the tip. We found that the first one or two shaved nicely, but the last couple resulted in chunky, broken off bits. Don't worry. Just do your best and pitch it all in a bowl. Then lightly toss with olive oil, a pinch or four of salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out your dough into a 13 inch circle. Don't worry if it's not perfect; just tell yourself it's rustic. Fold the edges under and pinch if you want a thicker edge, otherwise leave it be. If using a stone, place the circle on a floured pizza peel board, otherwise place the dough on a round, floured pizza pan. (You can also form your dough into a rectangle and place onto a floured baking sheet.) Brush the crust with a little olive oil to make it crispy then sprinkle with parmesan. Next, distribute the poblano rings evenly. Top with mozzarella cubes, then leeks and finally...pile with the shaved asparagus.
Open the oven door and slide the pizza from the peel onto the pizza stone. (If you like to rebel against good advice, like we do, and you don't flour your board, you may need some extra hands and a few spatulas to get it from peel to stone.)
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (we went all 15) until edges are browning, cheese is bubbling and a few spears are slightly charred. Sprinkle the pizza with the basil, serve and watch it disappear. If you want to take it up to a level of insanity, you can also drizzle your slice with this basil oil.
But beware...everyone will want a bite. Even a baby...may hit you up...
...one more time.