Wild Spring Pizza
Roasted rhubarb (with honey, peppercorns, star anise, orange zest & juice), baked brie, grilled purple scallions, toasted hazelnuts, fresh mint, pea shoots, chive blossoms
We recently spent a weekend on a farm as part of a joint 30th birthday camping trip, and our tour of the perennial garden was the first time I can remember seeing someone pull a stalk of rhubarb out of the ground and just take a bite out of it, raw. Everyone's always so scared of the bitter taste of raw rhubarb, but it turns out the young pink stalks are actually refreshing and delicious on their own. (Just don't eat the leaves! They're still poisonous.) Anyway, I've been craving rhubarb ever since we left, and while we did roast most of it for this pizza, I threw some fresh slices on top for that burst of brightness.
For this pizza, we started with a couple base ingredients and then went wild with whatever fresh & flowering ingredients we could find—hence the name. You can't really tell in the photo, but I actually laid the rhubarb pieces down in a sort of delicate alternating chevron pattern, and then each subsequent layer got more and more wild with all the leaves and the flowers just kind of overflowing off the pizza. We used pea shoots, mint and chive blossoms as garnish, but the fun of this pizza is really experimenting with whatever's growing near you. The rhubarb and brie are doing a nice balancing act on their own, and the grilled scallions add a nice caramelized flavor, so anything else (as long as it's mild enough) is just for some added fun, texture & color.
1 ball of pizza dough
salt & pepper
flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone
1 generous wedge of creamy brie, sliced thinly (I leave the rind on, but that's up to you)
1 handful pea shoots, or other microgreens
1 small handful of chive blossoms, popped off the top of the chive (optional, or find another edible flower you like!)
2-4 spring onions (we used purple ones)
1 handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of mint leaves, torn if large
For the rhubarb:
3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces on a diagonal (on the bias if you're fancy), with a few inches of 1 stalk sliced thinly and set aside
1-2 tablespoons honey
pinch of whole peppercorns
1-2 star anise pods
zest & juice of 1/2 orange
Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium high, and preheat your oven to 375° F. In a small baking dish, lay your rhubarb pieces in a single layer and toss with the spices, honey, orange juice & orange zest. Add a couple tablespoons of water just so that the whole bottom of the pan has a thin layer of liquid. When your oven is hot, pop them in for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway, until they are soft but not mushy. Take them out and preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go.
Next, you can grill your scallions. We used a grill pan that is essentially a panini press, but you can use any grill pan or an actual grill—just make sure to brush your pan or onions with olive oil and keep a close eye on them. If you have a panini press, you can close the lid to grill both sides of your onions at once, but otherwise just turn them over halfway and cook until they've softened and have nice char marks on both sides.
When they're done, set them aside to cool, then trim the bottoms and slice them on a diagonal into 2-3 inch pieces, keeping both the bulbs and the majority of the green tops.
When your oven is hot, you can prepare your dough using the instructions on the right. Once you've baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Add your brie slices in an even layer across the whole pizza—they should be delicate enough that you can already see them starting to melt into the hot dough. That way you can be generous about covering the whole pizza without worrying about it drowning in brie.
Next, arrange your roasted rhubarb in whatever pattern (or lack thereof) you prefer, followed by your grilled scallions. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and pop it in the oven, baking until the crust is a nice golden brown. Now take it out, top with all your fresh greens & flowers, along with your fresh rhubarb slices, and enjoy!
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