A cool, wet spring brings forth two of my favorite crops: chives and asparagus. The chives come first, their graceful, hollow stems add a zip to salads and mashed potatoes. Soups, roasted root veggies, omelets, dips, cornbread, whipped butter, even biscuits are more appetizing and taste like spring when prepared with a liberal dose of delicate, onion-flavored snipped chives.
Then the asparagus start to poke their purple, hooded heads through the black, rich soil.
Purple Passion is the variety my husband cultivates; sweeter and more tender than the Jersey variety green spears. They are a colorful purple addition raw in salads, (try with purple and red pansies) and the spears turn green when cooked. Flip’s asparagus patch is 6 years old, and we have been enjoying fresh asparagus daily since May 17.
With such an abundance of fresh asparagus, my culinary creativity has gone wild. Asparagus quiche, grilled with asparagus with herbes-de-Provence, steamed asparagus with hollandaise, asparagus soup, asparagus salad with sliced tomato and feta, and asparagus tossed with lemon pepper and oil.
What next? America’s favorite food: pizza!
The recipe for Asparagus Chive Pizza involves a few critical cutting and chopping steps, but is easy to prepare. This is a white pizza, no tomato sauce. The dough is brushed with garlic studded oil, then lined with asparagus tossed with chive filled oil. A sprinkling of cheese, local preferred, more snipped chives and fresh thyme, and your masterpiece is ready for baking.
This time of year, use caution with the age and flavor of your garlic. For best results, use or cut asparagus to be similar in size.
This pizza makes a festive lunch, or better still, top with a fried egg (as I did), and enjoy for breakfast.
ASPARAGUS & CHIVE PIZZA
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 1 bunch asparagus about 10 – 12 ounces
- 1 – 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh-snipped chives divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh-snipped thyme
- 3 tablespoons olive or avocado oil divided
- 4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese 1 cup
- 2 ounces Maine goat cheese
- Sea salt and fresh pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle a half sheet pan (13 inches x 18 inches) with corn meal.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the pizza dough into an oval shape, about 9 inches by 16 inches. Place on the sheet pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the finely chopped garlic with 2 tablespoons oil. Brush on the pizza dough.
- Trim the asparagus to about 8 inches long. They should all be about the same diameter. Cut the fatter ones in half lengthwise. Combine the remaining one-tablespoon of oil with ¼ cup snipped chives. Coat the asparagus. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
- Arrange the asparagus on top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the asparagus, then top with the remaining ¼ cup snipped chives and snipped thyme.
- Bake on the lower rack until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. Cut into six pieces.