Continuing along this week’s theme of Things Jenny Cooked from Cookbooks While on Assignment, I’d like to present to you one last mind-blowing recipe: Joe Beddia’s Asparagus Pizza with Lemon and Spring Cream from his new book Pizza Camp. I don’t think it should come as a surprise to you that we eat a lot of pizza in our house. Seven years ago, when I was just starting this blog, Jim Lahey was the one to convince me that making it from scratch — dough and all — could be almost as fast and almost always more rewarding than dialing delivery. Pizza was both a family-friendly vehicle to showcase farmer’s market finds as well as an end-of-the-week depository for whatever was left in the fridge. As long as you have some dough defrosted, it’s the easiest thing in the world to roll out, top with cheese (or no cheese) and the last of the vegetables (or charcuterie spread), and call it dinner.
But to be clear, the asparagus pizza recipe below, from Beddia’s Pizza Camp, is not one of these throw-it-together-and-hope-for-the-best weeknight numbers. Beddia, who runs Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia did not earn his around-the-block lines by seeking out shortcuts. (For way more info on him and his book, please refer to the full round-up.) This pizza took me more than a day to make from start to finish, mostly because it calls for the dough to ferment in the fridge for 24 hours, a step very much worth taking if you had the foresight to plan for it. But if you didn’t, don’t worry. Even Beddia concedes you can use store-bought dough (he recommends buying one from your local pizzeria) and following his instructions from there. Might I recommend making it this weekend, while the asparagus is still abundant and the weather won’t prohibit you from turning your oven to 500°? Might I also recommend making two of them because the first will go very fast?
Also, a nice little end-of-the-week giveaway: I’m offering a free copy of the book to one commenter at random. Contest ends Saturday, June 10 at noon ET. Good luck!
Asparagus, Spring Cream, Onion, Lemon Pizza
From Pizza Camp, by Joe Beddia (reprinted with permission)
Regarding the asparagus: You need to make sure that you get rid of the woodsy, inedible bottoms. The freshest cut stuff that you find at the farmers’ market is always best. Slice the spears into little coins. The thinner the better.
Related: Beddia’s Nine Rules for the Best Homemade Pizza of Your Life
- 1 ball of dough (about 1-pound/304 g)
- ⅔ cup (165 ml) Spring Cream (recipe below)
- 3 ounces (85 g) fresh mozzarella, pinched into small chunks
- 2 cups (220 g) shredded low-moisture mozzarella (the kinds that come in bags)
- 3 tablespoons grated hard cheese
- 1 lemon wedge
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 handful of basil (10 to 20 leaves)
- ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh fennel fronds
- ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh chives
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 4 cups (960 ml) heavy cream