Pretty Dishes

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
June 14, 2010, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Recipes

All right, let’s talk pizza. It’s an almost universal favorite, in part because there is just so much you can do to please any palate—after all, it is essentially bread (of various components/textures/thickness) smothered in almost anything your heart desires. I am by no means a pizza connoisseur or snob, but I know what I like. I prefer a thinner crust with some chewy substance to it, a splash of olive oil or cream sauce, a lot of cheese (preferably multiple kinds), and a vegetable or five. I’m not partial to meaty pies, though I do appreciate thin slices of prosciutto or small bits of bacon on occasion, when paired with the appropriate accompaniments. Wood-fired is my favorite. I don’t eat pizza all that frequently—perhaps once or twice a month on average—and it’s even more rare that I make my own.

Until now. I may have discovered the most perfect pizza, or at least one of them. Of course, it may not be your perfect pizza, but I encourage you to give it a try and see, because it might just change your life. This is the pizza I will think of when I have a craving and the one I will hold all other pizzas to in comparison. It really is that good.

So let me get to it. I was casually browsing some of my favorite food blog sites some weeks ago, and I came to a version of this pizza on Smitten Kitchen. (The Smitten Kitchen recipe was inspired by a Serious Eats post showcasing asparagus pizza.) I was immediately inspired to try it as I had purchased a large bag of asparagus from Costco a few days before, and I passed the link on to M, who suggested we make it together the next evening. And the rest, as they say, is history.

We decided on a few additions from the get-go. M and I both love blue cheese and felt it would complement the asparagus nicely, so on it went. And since I own a small bottle of white truffle oil, we jumped at the chance to mix a little in with the olive oil base.

I know some people are a little dismayed or frightened by the use of truffle oil in recipes, but please do put these fears to rest because you are really missing out. Certainly there are some very pricey oils out there, but there are plenty that are available locally (such as at Pike Place Market and specialty stores) or online, quite wonderful, and cost less than $15 for about 8 ounces. A bottle will keep in the refrigerator for at least a year, and you can use a splash of it in all manner of Italian dishes or to make one of the greatest things on earth: truffle fries.

In any case, the truffle flavor really pushes this pizza over the top (though it is still delicious without it), so I strongly encourage at least asking a friend if they’d be willing to spare a drop . . . or better yet, make them a pizza so you can enjoy it together!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

1/2 pound asparagus
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
White or black pepper
Homemade or store-bought pizza dough (Trader Joe’s brand is a great inexpensive option)
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
6 ounces mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced
3 ounces blue cheese, sliced or crumbled
2 ounces Parmesan, shredded or thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven (and a pizza stone, if you have one) to 500 degrees F.

Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and use a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler is best but a standard peeler works fine) to create long shavings by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with the remaining stalks, discarding the tough ends. Toss the asparagus peelings with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Roll or stretch out the pizza dough to a 12-inch round or to fit a baking sheet. Transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or baking sheet. Brush the dough with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the truffle oil. Place in the oven to par-bake for about 3 minutes, or until slightly puffed.

Remove the crust from the oven and layer evenly with mozzarella, blue cheese, and Parmesan. Pile the asparagus on top. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly, and the asparagus is lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions and lemon juice, then slice and eat. Try to contain yourself, but no one will blame you for squealing with joy.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I bet this tastes as good as it looks

Comment by Gourmet Gorman

Best. Pizza. Ever.
You forgot to mention that scallions came from your very own garden! :)

Comment by meosima

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