Sometimes, homemade is just better. Especially when it's spring/summer, and the most anticipated produce of the year -- cherries, strawberries, peas, corn, apricots and of course, asparagus -- starts making its glorious appearance into our grocery stores.
Oh yes, I could go on and on about all the sweet and juicy berries we've been stuffing our faces with lately. But first things first -- vegetables before dessert, right? Only, these vegetables are pretty darn good. And when served as a bubbling but simple white pizza (no acidity of tomato sauce to contend with), their fresh flavors really shine.
While I'd love to pinpoint the asparagus as the sole star of this lovely pie, it's really the combination of everything together that makes it so delicious. Garlic olive oil and crisp chopped scallions provide the perfect base. Tender, charred and slightly sweet asparagus contrasts the tangy goat cheese perfectly. Potatoes add a subtle richness and buttery flavor to the pie. And gooey, melted mozzarella cheese rounds out everything wonderfully.
In fact, it's so good that we actually had a couple of slices after dessert as a late night snack. Are we rebels or what? ;)
Asparagus, Fingerling Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2009 and Gourmet, July 2009
5 ounces fingerling potatoes
cornmeal (for sprinkling)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 1/3 cups grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed, each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces
pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool. Cut potatoes into thin slices.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll and stretch pizza dough to 16x11-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheet. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in small bowl. Brush garlic oil over dough. Sprinkle 3/4 of green onions over, then mozzarella, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with potato slices and goat cheese. Toss asparagus and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl. Scatter asparagus over pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then lightly with salt and generously with pepper.
Bake pizza until crust is browned and asparagus is tender, about 18 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Cut into pieces.
2 (1/4-ounces) packages active dry yeast
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups warm water (105–115 degrees), divided
2 teaspoons salt
Whisk together yeast, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Stir together salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining 1 1/2 cups warm water and stir until smooth, then stir in 1 cup more flour. If dough sticks to your fingers, stir in just enough flour (up to 3/4 cup), a little at a time, to make dough just come away from side of bowl. (This dough may be wetter than other pizza doughs you have made.)
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface with floured hands, lightly reflouring work surface and your hands when dough becomes too sticky, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Divide dough in half and form into 2 balls, then generously dust balls all over with flour and put each in a medium bowl. Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Continue reading for recipe...