I love how Spring comes and automatically just seems to know how to make our lives a little bit easier. The craziness of the end of the school year is unrivaled; the programs and commitments never seem to end. Who in their right mind could turn down another last game, another graduation ceremony, another right of passage into the next stage of life?
Thankfully, this is the time of year when beautiful produce starts to make itself known, showing off at farm stands, markets or grocery stores. Bright green asparagus, plump in all of its springtime glory, shows off in tall thick stalks. Jewel-colored beets appear in seemingly endless rows, begging to be roasted. Strawberries start to actually smell like strawberries, and some of us are lucky enough to find them by the bucketful from the strawberry lady on the side of the road.
The freedom from only root vegetables is apparent in my house. I love a good sheet pan of caramelized roasted root veggies, but nothing compares to enjoying the crunch and tenderness of fresh and seasonal asparagus. I believe a large part of the draw lies in the fact that although we can buy asparagus year-round, you can really only find the good stuff – sweet and tender and plump – in its season.
I love the simplicity of this pizza. Feel free to buy your pizza dough at a local shop or make your own – just make sure it’s your favorite. If you are feeling fancy or want to make this a little heartier you could certainly add some cheese to the baked pizza dough; I just tend toward whatever’s easier most of the time. Topping the hot baked crust with shaved asparagus warms the vegetable up just enough without compromising its crunch. It’s a messy community-friendly dish, which is always my favorite part of food anyway – allowing people to pull together with messy hands and food-covered faces. You got some asparagus on your face? No worries, I’ve got it, too. Now, who’s up for slice number two?
SIMPLE SHAVED ASPARAGUS PIZZA
- pizza dough, homemade or store-bought, enough for one 9-inch pizza
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, rough ends trimmed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon olive oil OR 1 tablespoon of olive oil + zest of half a lemon
- salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Bake the pizza dough according to instructions until golden brown.
- Slice the garlic clove in half.
- As soon as the pizza is done baking, remove it immediately from the oven and rub the garlic cloves all over the crust, cut side down.
- Shave the asparagus, using a vegetable peeler, until you’re left with a big pile of asparagus shavings.
- Toss the shaved asparagus with the olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Top the entire pizza with the cool shaved asparagus salad.
- Top with shaved Parmesan if desired.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.