Well, 14-year-old selves might need to take a back seat, because this is one tasty grown-up pizza. The idea started when our friend KB, who knows about our pizza obsession and was one of the tasters of the breakfast pizza, told us that a coworker of hers regularly makes a pizza with shredded asparagus. We happened to be on our way to a u-pick farm and market, which happened to have enormous bunches of beautiful asparagus. Coincidence? Fate??
To get an idea of where to start, I looked up asparagus pizza recipes and found one on smitten kitchen's blog, which is among my very favorite food blogs. We liked her idea to isolate the asparagus, which certainly deserves a bit of a spotlight, but realized our own pizza ideal involves a more deliberate mingling of flavors and textures. AKA we thought it needed garlic and bacon.
First, we chopped fresh garlic, tossed it lightly with extra virgin olive oil and put it in a little tin foil packet on the pizza stone while the oven preheated.
Then we par-cooked a couple strips of bacon (can be done either in the microwave or on the stove), just enough to make it edible, but not enough to be crispy. (Yet.) For vegetarians, the pizza would still be delicious without the bacon.
Next there was the matter of preparing the asparagus. I followed smitten kitchen's recommendation to use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into long strips. The result was attractive, but the process was tedious and my vegetable peeler seemed inadequate for the task, so in a pinch I think the right food processor attachment could speed up the job. If you do it by hand, you'll want to hold the asparagus by the tough end of the stalk (the part you would usually cut off), lay it flat on a cutting board, and shave from the base of the stalk to the tip.
We also opted to feature more Parmesan saltiness and less mozzarella gooeyness on this one. The rest of the pizza came together easily and tastily, the perfect springtime pizza. I confess, I might have had third helpings...
TOPPINGS (layered in this order):
- par-baked simple crust
- drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- generous spread of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- light dusting of shredded mozzarella cheese
- pile of shaved asparagus, tossed with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of lemon juice, and seasoned to taste with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
- chopped scallions
- roasted garlic
- chopped, par-cooked bacon (optional; if you omit the bacon, add an extra dash of salt)