This pizza has a few ingredients, but none more important than 1) my good fortune to live a 5-minute walk away from one of California’s best farmers markets, and 2) a blessedly dry morning at the end of a waterlogged week, in which to stroll through the market and pick up a few green things between foldings of the dough.
I had enough sourdough toss-off to use in the dough, but a poolish would work here, too. My cheap but very sharp (you may ask my thumb if you don’t believe me) mandoline sliced my market picks — asparagus, green garlic, leeks, and goat gouda — thinly and perfectly.
Since I acquired a new house a few months ago, I’ve been experimenting with the best oven configuration for pizza, and I think I have it down: The stone goes on the second-to-highest oven rack. Preheat an hour at maximum bake temperature (550F). Bake the pizza about 7 minutes, then switch on the broiler and go for another minute and a half, until it’s pleasantly charred.
Asparagus, Green Garlic, and Leek Pizza
Yield: one 14-inch pizza
- Mix dough: 10 minutes
- Ferment dough: 2 hours, with folds at 40 and 80 minutes
- Preshape and rest: 20 minutes
- Shape crust and assemble: 5 minutes
- Bake: 9 minutes
- 181 g flour
- 109 g water
- 1.1 g (1/3 teaspoon) instant yeast
- 4.8 g (generous 3/4 teaspoon) salt
- 122 g active 100%-hydration sourdough starter (alternative: a poolish of 61 g flour, 61 g water, and a very small pinch of yeast, fermented for 12 hours)
- 9 g olive oil
- 2 fat stalks asparagus, thinly sliced
- 2 small bulbs green garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 leek (white part), thinly sliced
- a few thin slices of cheese (I used goat gouda)
- Kosher salt
- olive oil
- a few fresh basil leaves
- To make the dough, mix all of the dough ingredients by hand on the counter until you have a low-medium level of gluten development.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 2 hours at room temperature, with folds after the first 40 and 80 minutes.
- After the dough has been fermenting for an hour, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to its maximum baking temperature. The second-to-top rack works best in my oven.
- Turn the dough onto a counter floured with a 50-5o blend of regular flour and semolina, if you have it. Preshape the dough into a ball and let it rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Flour the counter very well with the flour-semolina blend. Stretch the dough into a 14-inch circle. Draping it over your fists and allowing gravity to stretch it will make the crust thin in the center and thicker at the edges.
- Place the crust on a peel that has been very liberally dusted with semolina. Brush it with olive oil and top with asparagus, garlic, leeks, a generous pinch of Kosher salt, and cheese. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake for 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted (or nearly so) and the crust is golden brown.
- Turn on the broiler and broil for a minute or two, until the crust is nicely charred.
- When the pizza is out of the oven, top with fresh basil.