Monday, May 31, 2010

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

After a full weekend, I arrived back at my apartment a little after 7pm on Sunday.  I dragged myself to the grocery store without a plan in the world, but knowing I didn't have the energy to cook anything.  I impulsively bought asparagus and the mozzarella that was on sale, hoping to find inspiration later in the week.  This morning, I checked my RSS feeds and what should I find, but shaved asparagus pizza on Smitten Kitchen?  After reviewing the recipe, I decided that it couldn't possibly be complete without some of the cherry tomatoes and goat cheese I also impulsively bought.  (Other adaptations include omitting the scallion and cutting back on the salt and pepper.)

Of course, the only problem with this recipe was I needed a pizza crust.  Without my Metro (which reopens July 1 ... hooray!  yes, I will be counting the days), the only pre-made pizza crusts I have readily available to me also have tomato sauce on them ... ick!  Most homemade pizza crusts require a few hours for the dough to rise, but luckily a quick google search found a pizza dough recipe that required only 15 minutes of total waiting time ... the perfect waiting time to peel the asparagus and grate the cheese.

After thinking about this recipe all day and spending more time than expected peeling the asparagus (the one time the thicker asparagus would've been good!), I was a bit concerned that the pizza would be a disappointment.  It couldn't have been farther from that.  This was delicious ... a perfect way to end an amazing month.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 pizza crust (recipe adapted from below)
1 bundle asparagus (I ended up with some extra because I'm crust challenged, but it should be excellent for salad!)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
225g mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil (plus more for the tomatoes)
200g cherry tomatoes
80 - 100g goat cheese (mine was black pepper)

1. Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases (mine goes to 550, but I stuck with 500). If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Pour in olive oil.  Add tomatoes.  Heat for 5 minutes or so, until they're slightly charred and starting to break down.  Remove from heat, set aside. 
3. Create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil  in a bowl and be sure to try one.
4. Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on.
5. Sprinkle pizza dough with mozzarella and goat cheese. Top with tomatoes.  Pile asparagus on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
6. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven, slice and eat.

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust (adapted from

1 (8g) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt

1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, oregano, basil, powders, and salt.
3. Stir into the yeast mixtures flour and oil mixture. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. 

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