Hello everyone! Did you all have a beautiful Memorial Day weekend? Did you eat only grilled things and spend all your time outside and maybe even get into the water? Whatever you did, I hope it was relaxing.
Sadly, we did not break out our new canoe yet or find ourselves out on the water, but we did have our first relaxing Memorial Day since we started the farm four years ago so you will hear no complaints from me. This long holiday weekend is usually spent heads down in the field, working our butts off to get every last crop into the ground, but thanks to the downpour on Thursday and additional sprinkles on Friday, the soil was too wet to do any farm work until Monday. (Oh darn!)
We started the long weekend off on Friday with an impromptu asparagus harvest at our friend’s farm. One of their regular pickers backed out at the last minute so we headed to their ten-acre asparagus farm with our little crew of four. (Because we have a crew of four now!). My Carrot and I were joined by my little brother (who is becoming a regular fixture in the fields lately) and our first employee Eryn (who is absolutely fantastic and does things like adding a half day to her work schedule at a moment’s notice). We worked through rain and mud, and harvested a whole 230 pounds between the four of us: certainly the most asparagus I’ve ever harvested! Eryn went home, the boys returned to work more on the farm, and I drove over town, delivering asparagus to every CSA member and restaurant in Madison who wanted some.
Then the weekend really began and instead of work, work, working, we did fun things. There were bonfires and farm visits, a pizza double date and trip to the new Saturday New Glarus farmer’s market (where we got duck eggs from Love Rock Farm and lime curd from the sweetest couple in the world). We made time to hang with family and friends at my parents’ Memorial Day potluck and even spent two hours on Saturday afternoon lounging in a park, pretending we were normal people who have time to do things like lay in parks and canoodle, reading magazines and sharing dreams. I can’t remember the last time we had a long conversation about a topic that wasn’t farm-related. Don’t tell the plants, but we really enjoyed our weekend away.
Being Memorial Day weekend, we also made time for all kinds of fantastic food, much of it made on the grill. There isn’t much growing on the farm yet, but we are getting by just fine with the abundant amount of scallions, kale, spinach and lettuce. We took home eight pounds of asparagus for ourselves after the epic Friday harvest, and my mom keeps me stocked in rhubarb from her two giant plants in the backyard. With one trip to the Willy St Co-op, our springtime pantry is complete with some green garlic and a bunch of fresh herbs.
We had a large portion of grilled meats with a side of salad this Memorial Day weekend, but by Monday night, I was feeling like getting just a little more creative on the grill. I whipped up a batch of Anne Burrell’s pizzetta dough, roasted some of that gorgeous asparagus we harvested on Friday and dug out every Italian item I could find in the fridge. What transpired was a meal absolutely perfect for ending an already lovely weekend.
The recipe for my favorite grilled pizza concoction from last night can be found below as well as a list of all the goodies I had on hand to make 6 small pizzas: a great party spread that would easily feed 4-6 people. Oh and if you were nervous about the technique of grilling pizza, don’t be. The Kitchn, as always, has got you covered.
P.S. I’ve been eating this rhubarb upside-down cake (regular side up) daily for dessert (and a mid-day snack, and let’s be honest, also for breakfast). It’s like a warm biscuit with buttery, caramelized rhubarb jam slathered on top (or on bottom if you’re lazy like me and dig in without inverting). It’s somehow both delicate and rich, sweet and sour, and it is well worth the 15 minutes it takes to make.
GRILLED PIZZA WITH ASPARAGUS, RICOTTA & GREEN SAUCE
Takes 1 hour, 30 minutes (including time for dough to rise
Makes 3 small (approximately 8-inch) pizzas
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
4 slices proschiutto, cut into long, thin strips
1/2 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (I prefer the texture of roasted asparagus so I roasted it even though I’ll have the grill on in a couple minutes. I can do a pound of asparagus in two batches in my toaster oven so that keeps my house from getting too hot in the summer. If you don’t mind grilled asparagus or find it fussy, then by all means grill your asparagus instead! You want it to be nicely charred.)
- Combine warm (it should be warm to the touch, not hot) water, yeast and sugar together in a measuring cup or small bowl and whisk with a fork until well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes. It should bubble up and smell yeasty.
- In a large bowl (or the large bowl of a stand mixer), combine flour and salt. Once yeast has rested, add to bowl along with olive oil. Stir until just combined and then turn out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth. Grease medium bowl with drizzle or two of olive oil. Place dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set somewhere warm (like outside in the sun) and let rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes in the sun.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus and green sauce. Oil a cookie sheet with one tablespoon olive oil. Add asparagus in a single layer (crowded asparagus = steamed not charred), drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, turning once for even browning. Set aside until ready to use.
- Combine all green sauce ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.
- Preheat grill to medium-low heat and bring all your “supplies” near the grill. You will want extra olive oil, a brush, tongs, roasted asparagus, green sauce, ricotta, prosciutto, and Asiago cheese all near the grill. (I put all mine on a large cutting board for easy transport.)
- Remove dough from bowl and turn out onto well-floured surface. Divide dough into three balls and roll out into rough 8-inch circles. None of my pizzas were actually circular. The shape doesn’t matter much. Brush one side with olive oil. Lay as many pizzas on grill as will fit. Cook for 2-3 minutes based on heat. Use the tongs to ensure they aren’t burning. You want grill marks and well-browned pizza dough, but not charred. Brush the uncooked side of the dough with olive oil and flip.
- Quickly, spread 2/3 cup of ricotta on dough. Top with 1/3 prosciutto, 1/3 asparagus spears, a nice drizzle of green sauce and as much Asiago as you want. Cook for 2 until the underside has grilled marks and is golden brown. Repeat with remaining pieces.
- Remove to a cutting board, slice into pieces and serve hot!
MEMORIAL DAY GRILLED PIZZA SMORGASBORD
2 batches Anne Burrell’s pizzetta recipe (makes 6 approximately 8-inch pizzas)
16-ounce container whole-milk ricotta (BelGioioso is best)
8 ounces chevre (or other goat cheese)
3 ounces finely shredded Asiago
3 ounces prosciutto, cut into long strips
3 ounces other cured meat of your choosing, cut into bite-size pieces
4 cups diced tomatoes tossed with olive oil, fresh oregano, salt and balsamic
1 pound asparagus (prepared as above)
1 batch green sauce (recipe above)
1 bunch green garlic, thinly sliced and tossed with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
A couple handfuls of chopped spinach
A couple handfuls of arugula
More red pepper flakes
Put any combination of these toppings on a grilled pizza and you will be happy, happy, happy.