Sunday, June 10, 2012

shaved asparagus pizza.

Yesterday, I turned 27.  (Am I now old!?)  I tend to get very pensive around my birthday.  I question everything - Are you where you want to be in life? What have you accomplished in the last year? - it gets exhausting.  So exhausting in fact that by the time the day rolls around all I want to do is take a nap (and eat cake - the only good thing about a birthday is eating cake, lots of cake).  

But yesterday I had a really good birthday.  Tyler took me to Per Se for lunch. It was extraordinary (a once in a lifetime kind of thing which is how I sold him on the idea).  I have never (and probably never will again) experience a meal quite like it.  I mean it said HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAITLIN on the top of our menus (which we got to keep), if that isn’t personal service then I don’t know what is (Thomas Keller you know how to make a girl feel special). 

The food itself was amazing.  But to me, the most amazing part of the whole thing was how beautiful everything looked.  Every dish that came out was simply put, a work of art.  We were both in awe.  You really do eat with your eyes first and in the case of Per Se, I ate beautiful things at first sight.  I also ate a lot of dessert which was the best part of the meal for me – when you think its over they bring you doughnuts and truffles and homemade fudge and macarons! As I said to Tyler, dessert at Per Se is my version of heaven. 

I still can’t stop thinking about how beautiful each dish was.  How carefully constructed everything was.  I am still in awe. It makes me want to cook more beautiful dishes which is how I stumbled upon the shaved asparagus pizza.  This pizza looks like abstract art and it tastes like spring. I am already planning on making it again and every time I do it will make me think of Per Se and how lucky I am.  (I am also lucky because I got to bring home chocolates from Per Se – they are sitting in my fridge, I give them until Wednesday.)

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Adopted from Smitten Kitchen

I added ricotta to my pizza – I have a love affair with white pizza that dates back to my childhood and this felt like grown up white pizza.  I also added Mikes Hot Honey because I’ve pretty much decided it tastes good on anything and everything.

½ recipe of my favorite pizza dough
1/2 pound asparagus
1/3 cup grated Parmesan/Pecorino
1/3 pound ricotta
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
Red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes - place your pizza stone inside and let it warm up - at least 45 minutes. 

Prepare asparagus: I found this part tricky - granted I was trying to check Facebook and shave them at the same time, may have something to do with it... Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler, create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don't worry of some pieces are unevenly thick, the mixed textures make the pizza yummy.  Discard tough ends.  Toss peelings with olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  

Assemble and bake pizza: Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to an 8-inch round.  Place dough on pizza stone (don't worry if it ends up oddly shaped, mine always ends up that way and I love it more when that happens!)  Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan/Pecorino then mozzarella, and dollop ricotta around the dough.  Pile asparagus on top.  Bake pizza for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might by lightly charred.  Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with honey.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

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