April is here and so is Spring - finally! To usher in the new month and season, we once again bring you our Slice of the Month recommendation. This month, it's a Shaved Asparagus and Leek pizza on whole wheat crust. It's ridiculously good.
Squeezes of lemon brighten up the asparagus, and the leeks offer a mild onion-y tang. Combine all this with some soft and smooth mozzarella cheese (burrata if you can manage it), and you will have all the birds tweeting in spring time celebration.
Now, we would be remiss if we did not mention that this Slice of the Month is brought to you by Colavita Olive Oil. They post a fancy cookbook on their Facebook page once a month. I make this book! Yes, it's true. It has more photos and a beautiful layout (well, I like it anyway...). You can get them for free every month by liking Colavita. So, run on over and do that now.
And now, let's make some pizza.
What You Need:
1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough, salt, freshly ground black pepper and...
1 bunch of asparagus (feel free to mix green and white varieties)
2-3 leeks, sliced and rinsed well
mozzarella cheese (two medium balls of burrata, or a half pound of fresh, lightly salted)
fresh thyme (as much as you like)
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What To Do:
Heat the oven to 500 degrees. If using a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat up along with the oven for a half hour before baking on it.
Stretch out your dough on a cornmeal-dusted peel to about 10-12” in diameter, and brush the top with olive oil.
Peel the asparagus: Hold a single asparagus spear at the base and lay it flat on a cutting board. Using a
vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best...you could also try a mandoline, but be careful of your fingers), run the peeler lengthwise down the asparagus, creating long shavings. Repeat with the remaining stalks. Your strips will be all different sizes, but don’t worry, it will just add to the texture (and fun!). Discard the tough ends.
Place the asparagus peelings in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and freshly chopped thyme.
Clean the leeks thoroughly by rinsing with water. It’s easiest if you chop them first (you’ll only be using the white ends), so you can rinse all the nooks and crannies free of dirt.
Heat a skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Place the chopped leeks in the skillet, and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
Add the shaved asparagus, and sauté for about 3 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine.
Dollop the fresh mozzarella along the surface of the stretched out pizza dough. You can also grate some Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella.
Distribute the shaved asparagus and leek mixture over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle on a bit more fresh thyme as well.
Drizzle with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper.
Slide your pizza onto the stone in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top of the pizza.
Alternately, this pizza is fantastic on the grill. If you’d like to grill this pie, heat up your grill and oil the grate.
Before you begin, it’s handy to have a few things in place: Position all your topping in bowls alongside the grill. It may be necessary to pull up a small table next to the grill for this purpose. Make sure your cheese is sliced and waiting on a dish as is the leek and asparagus mixture. Have some extra olive oil handy, the chopped thyme, salt, pepper and lemon. It’s also a good idea to have some tongs and oven mitts at the ready (things get hot) and a platter or cutting board for your finished pizza.
Instead of dusting a peel with cornmeal, brush both sides of the stretched-out pizza dough with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Place the stretched-out dough (without toppings!) directly onto the grill grate, and close the lid. Let it bake for about 2 minutes (this goes very quickly!).
Open the lid and using the tongs, flip the crust to the other side. Starting with the cheese, place all the toppings on the pizza as neatly and quickly as possible. Don’t forget the seasonings! Close the lid and allow to bake for another 2-3 minutes.
Finally, remove the pizza from the grill (use those tongs again) and place it onto a serving platter. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Serve!