Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fontina Asparagus Pizza

My friend Lee knows I make my own pizza dough. He gave me a ball of frozen dough that he assured me would be just as light and all natural-- the same pure ingredients I use.  His came from a business associate who supplies dough to pizzerias wholesale.  Lucky pizzerias.  Prep space is limited in many restaurants and finding a quality supplier that can save the owner time and money (and space) is a good for all sides of business. 

I also saved time with the high quality frozen dough.  It defrosted leisurely in its package in the refrigerator and over 3 days went from a solid softball to a foamy square pushing into the sides of its bag.

We've had hot, hot days so turning on the oven to heat a pizza stone was out of the question.  Even taking the time to really stretch out the dough seemed too much effort in the steamy heat.  A free form pizza baked over a bed of farina (instead of cornmeal) on an extra thin cookie sheet was all that could be managed and thanks to the relaxed rise of the pizza dough, it came out perfectly. It had a crispy light crust yet was still moist and deliciously yeasty inside.  The dough was a perfect foil to the cheese and asparagus.  Omitting the sauce made for a lighter meal and let us taste and appreciate each ingredient. 

We topped our pizza with quickly steamed, then butter & olive oil-sauteed asparagus over fontina cheese.  X's formed with anchovies provided a salty balance.  If you don't love anchovies, accent this sophisticated pizza with crisped bacon, it's cousin pancetta or top with good quality prosciutto.  (If using prosciutto, wait until the pizza is out of the oven.) For an all vegetable pizza, slice a few oil cured olives and scatter over randomly.

Bake the pizza in a preheated 400˚F oven for 12-14 minutes until the dough is puffed up a bit and the bottom is light brown and sturdy.  Let the pizza rest a moment before slicing.

NOTE: High quality pizza dough has few ingredients, just like what you would put together with flour, water, salt and olive oil.  The trick is giving your dough time to rise. Be patient and go for a slow rise under refrigerated conditions in a loosely secured plastic bag to allow for expansion.  A freshly made dough will rise in about 8-12 hours and can hold for a day.  Let a frozen dough come to the ready over three days.