Fiddleheads, Leeks & Asparagus

May 8, 2020

 

 

Goat cheese, blistered leeks & fiddlehead ferns, toasted hazelnuts, lemony asparagus ribbons, frizzled shallots, lemon zest, chili crisp

Sometimes it's comforting to know that, even though it feels like all days are the same and time is meaningless in quarantine, our plants still know that it's spring. Good job, plants. And that means that all of the weird, hyper-seasonal produce is still finding its way into our CSA boxes and onto our pizzas (and, duh, into our hearts).

 

This week's star is: fiddlehead ferns! They are another wild-growing plant, and they really taste like they came from the forest, sort of grassy and earthy. Adam said they taste like asparagus wrapped in spinach. If you can't find them, which is reasonable anytime let alone during these "uncertain times," you could substitute with more asparagus. I would use the skinnier ones in the bunch for blistering and the larger ones for making ribbons. You could also use green beans or any type of fresh pod-bean (snap peas, fava beans, etc.) because they char really well and this pizza is ready to mesh with any springy green flavors you want to throw at it.

 

We're also using everyone's favorite quarantine condiment obsession: chili crisp! Is this just our obsession? So hard to know what everyone else is obsessed with these days, but I'm going to assume it's popular. We love Mr. Bing, but you can use whatever your favorite one is, or feel free to make your own chili oil! Again, quarantine is the time to experiment and substitute, so go crazy. (But also, take care of your mental health right now. Whatever, you get it.)

 

Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough

olive oil

salt & pepper

flour for dusting

semolina flour for pizza stone

1 log of goat cheese

1-2 leeks, cut into 2-inch pieces & quartered lengthwise

large handful of fiddlehead ferns (or green beans), trimmed

grapeseed or other neutral oil (optional)

zest & juice of 1/2 lemon

~1 tablespoon of your favorite chili crisp or chili oil

2-4 asparagus (depending on size), shaved/peeled into ribbons

small handful of hazelnuts, chopped

1 small shallot, thinly sliced (on a mandoline if you have one)

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. First, you're going to blanch your fiddleheads. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, then add the fiddleheads. Boil for about 6-8 minutes (they should turn bright green), then remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they've cooled down, drain and pat them dry.

 

Next, heat about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil (or olive oil if you prefer) in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the leek wedges (keeping them together as much as you can, though they might fall apart slightly) and fiddleheads in an even layer and season with salt. Let them brown, undisturbed, for a few minutes. Once they've gotten a nice char, you can continue to cook, flipping occasionally, until they are browned on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

 

Meanwhile, you can fry up your shallots. Heat some oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat (you may need to tun this down a bit once they start frying). When the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and cook, swirling often, until they are golden brown. Keep a close eye on these because they can go from golden to burnt pretty quickly. Once they're done, use tongs to remove them to a paper towel* lined plate to crisp up.

 

Next, toss your asparagus ribbons with some olive oil, a large squeeze of lemon juice, a few pinches of lemon zest (reserving some for garnish), and salt & pepper to taste.

 

Now you can prepare your dough using the instructions on the right. After you've baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Add evenly spaced dollops of goat cheese across the pizza, and top with your blistered leeks & fiddleheads. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts overtop, as well as half of your lemony asparagus ribbons.

 

Pop it in the oven and bake until the crust is a nice golden brown. Take it out, top with the remaining asparagus ribbons for some added freshness, then sprinkle with the frizzled shallots & a couple pinches of lemon zest. Finish with a few drizzles of chili crisp, then slice it up and enjoy!

*Note: I try to use paper towels as little as possible for sustainability reasons, but I haven't found a good substitute when hot oil is involved. Open to suggestions!

 

P.S. You can now follow Pizza Tuesdays on Bloglovin!

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HOW TO PREPARE DOUGH

#1 

Start stretching it from the center, then move it around in a circle so that gravity stretches it and creates a natural crust. It helps to put some olive oil on your hands first.

 

#2

Place the dough on your floured surface & push it out with your fingertips until it's the size of your pizza stone. You can fold over the edges to create an extra fluffy crust.

 

#3

When the oven is hot (preheat it with the stone inside), sprinkle some semolina flour on the pizza stone and place your dough on it.

#4

Bake it for about a minute, or until it starts to bubble, then take it out. This last step isn't 100% necessary, but I feel like it adds a little extra crispiness to the crust.

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