Shaved Asparagus Meets Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

 Some of you may have noticed the Buzz Feed video being passed around on Facebook recently.  A rather speedy tutorial on quick pizza in a cast iron skillet.  Well, I wanted to try that.  Then the idea expanded.  One of you, likely on Beth Fish's Weekend cooking, recommended the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and I got that from the library (to test out prior to buying, of course).  In it there is, among all the gorgeous food photography, a very tempting looking, shaved asparagus pizza.  You can see where this is going.  I did not care to use the packaged sauce and packaged pizza dough in the video.  I wanted to use some of my own bread dough with Deb's directions and  toppings.  It's a merger.

And that merger was spectacular!  I would buy shares for sure.  Baking bread about once a week or so, it is very easy to slightly increase the amounts, to have enough for some pizza.  I have done this in the past, however not nearly as successfully; was on the cusp of buying a pizza stone in fact.

My sponge would be started the night before, and in the morning the remaining flour added, the dough kneaded, and set to rise.

Going with Deb's "leisurely pizza dough" suggestion, I made the amount for a 10" pizza (the size of my skillet) (eyeballing here), put it in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap and set in the fridge to do a very slow rise for 8 hours. Less is okay.  Off to do other stuff.

Then you take it out an hour or so before you are ready to use it, and let the dough come to room temperature and finish doubling.  Smush it into an oiled cast iron skillet.  Top and bake.  Simple.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
    From Deb Perelman's the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
        yield: 1 thin-crust 12-inch pizza (I cut mine down for a 10" pie, but it wasn't particularly thin)

Dough: (leisurely version)

1/2 cup warm water
1/4 + 1/8 teas. yeast
1 1/2 cups flour (not more than 1/4 cup whole wheat)
1 teas. salt
Sprinkle yeast on water in bowl.  Stand 5 min., then add flour and salt.  Mix til a rough, craggy mass, and turn out to knead for 5 minutes or a smooth, elastic dough.   Return to an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.  I remove mine from the fridge at about 3:30 p.m. or so for baking at 6:30, and let it continue doubling on the counter if warm, or in oven with just pilot light. 

1/2 lb. (225 grams) asparagus
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teas. coarse salt
several grinds of black pepper
one 3/4 lb. pizza dough
1/4 cup (3/4 oz. or 20 grams) grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. (225 grams) mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil (for the skillet)

Preheat your oven to its highest temperature - about 500 degrees in most cases.  (Be sure to take the dough out first if you've had it rising in there:)

Prepare the asparagus.  No need to snap off the ends; they can be your "handles" as you peel the asparagus.  Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board.  Use a vegetable peeler; a Y-shaped peeler works best here, but don't fret if you don't have a newer one.  With your peeler of choice, create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk.  Repeat with the remaining stalks, and don't fret if some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the top of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give the pizza character.  Discard the tough ends.

Claudia's note:  this didn't work for me, the several peelers I tried seemed to get gummed up.  So then I laid them flat, and just sliced thin with a sharp knife, after snapping off the tough ends.  That method works as well.

Deb continues:  Toss the peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Assemble and bake pizza.  Put 2 tablespoons olive oil into your pan.  Fold over and push out your pizza dough into the cast iron skillet.  Note: If you watched the video, they pre-bake their pie for 5 minutes, but they also spread a tomato sauce on and lots of toppings which add moisture, so for this recipe you don't need to pre-bake the dough.  Sprinkle the pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella.

Pile the asparagus on top.  Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly, and the asparagus might be lightly charred.  Remove from the oven, immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.  Yes!!  Simply fabulous crust and topping.  We'll be doing this one again.  Will share this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking group.  Check out all the great posts over there, and join in if you like.


Beth F said...

I have that cookbook, but somehow I missed this recipe. I must remedy that quickly before asparagus disappears from the farmers market!

JoAnn said...

This looks delicious - a perfect spring pizza!! Thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

I love cast iron cookware and I sure like the looks of your asparagus pizza. You can't go wrong with Smitten Kitchen!

jama said...

I like Deb's recipes but have never made this particular one. Like how you tried it using the skillet. Looks delicious!

Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said...

That looks really yummy! A great use for excess bread sponge.

Claudia said...

Thanks, it was delicious. Joy, I purposely make extra sponge when I'm going to make pizza as well as bread.

Kay said...

That pizza looks so delicious! I love asparagus and never thought about putting it on pizza. Yum deluxe!!

Carole said...

I like the idea of shaved asparagus. When I emerge from my cooking rut I'll give that a go. Cheers from Carole's chatter

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I picked up the Smitten Kitchen at my library used bookstore recently, but I haven't tried this one yet.

Joanne said...

That's one of my favorite cookbooks! Haven't made this pizza yet, but I must!