The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Anoka and Asparagus, Potato and Goat Cheese Pizza

Back to article of the day: Saveur’s guide to olive oil. I loved this piece when I read it in the current issue…just wonderful. I’ll take a few of each, please.

Life has been entrenched in monotony for months now. Oddly, I’m completely cool with this but only because I know that family will soon be visiting and that we will be on vacation to see our new nephew in August. That will be here in the blink of an eye.

We have yet to go camping. The weather, over the past few weeks, hasn’t coincided with that ability and also hasn’t been conducive for trail walking, which kind of puts us in a funk.

Over the weekend, the two of us went out with some friends to Anoka (Minnesota) seeking some decent wings…we didn’t find any. We were all fairly disappointed with the fare and atmosphere. We saw a poster for an ’80’s hairband tribute concert from the night before if that gives you a hint. You have to be in the right state of mind for those events. The bottom of the place looked much cooler than the upstairs. However, Anoka merits a return just out of curiosity about its potential for tasty dining. I could be crazy though.

We also went out that night, loitering around the bar with a friend, making plans to camp regardless of the possibility of the body of an accident victim being in the vicinity of the grounds. (That has put a damper on our camping aspirations.) So sad, so horribly sad.

After weeks of anticipation, I found out that the Riverwalk Market Fair will be opening in Northfield from June until October. This is novel (might be competing with the farmer’s market or involved with it-I don’t know) and involves art and local/gourmet produce along the river, conjuring the feeling of a European marketplace. How sweet is it that it’s behind our apartment too? It’s supersweet indeed, chums.

Let me preface the actual topic of today-pizza-by saying that I found an honest-to-goodness amazing pizza dough recipe from Martha Stewart. I’m picky about my pizza crust…I can’t stand Papa Johns and since moving, we only trust a few places to the savory pies. This recipe supplies just enough crunch with the cornmeal and has just the right amount of yeasty flavor to make me want it again and again. Of course, I am willing to try another but I’m busy making extra dough on this one.

These days I’m a pizza-making fool. It’s easy to make dough, freeze it, thaw it, plop some of your favorite toppings on top, bake and voila-delicious pizza. (I recommend a pizza stone for cooking but otherwise, not all that complicated.) I’ve been making so much pizza that Greg has been reading up on how to build a clay outdoor oven…something we WILL have one day. He found a plan that only costs $20 at serious eats. Jeepers, I’m thrilled!

Naturally, when I saw (in Bon Appetit) asparagus, potato and goat cheese pizza my watering mouth told me to make it. I changed a few of the amounts, left out the Parmesan and used red bliss potatoes in place of fingerling but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it would still be great in its original form. Good call-it was definitely a combination I think most people would love.

Pizza Dough from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 crusts for large pizzas or two 1 lb. balls

1 ½ cups warm water
2 packets (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour

Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy. (About 5 minutes.) Brush another large bowl with oil lightly.

Whisk the sugar, oil and salt into the yeast mixture, stir in flour with a wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. Transfer to the oiled bowl, brush the top with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about an hour, until it doubles in size.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands until smooth, about 15 seconds. Divide into 2 balls. Freeze in plastic wrap separately until firm (about an hour). Thaw in the fridge overnight to use the following day or freeze up to 3 months. Sprinkle the dough with cornmeal once it’s thawed for a great crunch.

Asparagus, Potato and Goat Cheese Pizza
Serves 4 main or 8 appetizer servings

5 oz. fingerling or red bliss potatoes, washed and rinsed
above pizza dough recipe (thawed)
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated mozzarella
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
6 oz. asparagus, trimmed, cut in fourths
¼ cup grated Parmesan (I left this out)

Preheat the oven to 450. I used a pizza stone but you can use a baking sheet. If you are using a pizza stone, give it ample time to heat up and be careful because that thing will be very hot. I think at least 30 minutes in the 450 degree oven will suffice but an hour is even better.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add enough water to cover and boil until tender. Cool and cut into thin slices.

Sprinkle, if using a baking sheet, the bottom of the sheet with cornmeal and roll out the dough into an oval or shape of your choice. I don’t have a pizza peel so I removed the very hot stone carefully and added cornmeal to the bottom of the dough, placed it on the stone and quickly added the toppings. If you have a peel, construct the pizza on that and throw it onto the stone in the oven to make it easier. If using the sheet, just construct it on top of that and place it in the oven.

To construct: Mix 1 tbsp of olive oil and the garlic in a small bowl. Brush it over the crust, sprinkle ¾ of the scallions and all of the mozzarella over the top, leaving a border. Top with the potato slices and goat cheese. Toss the asparagus with ½ tbsp of olive oil and scatter over the pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if you desire (I didn’t) and lightly salt and pepper the pizza. Bake until the crust is browned and the asparagus is tender, about 18 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions, cut and serve.

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