It's spring and that means pizza. Okay, maybe pizza isn't exactly what comes to mind when you think about Easter and Arbor Day, but pizza is my personal not-so-secret favorite comfort food. It's what I eat when nobody's looking or when I'm cooking just for myself. Since it's spring the things that end up on my pizza are lighter and fresher than the pepperoni, anchovies, and tomato sauces of winter.
My goal last Sunday was to make three seasonal pizzas; one for meat lovers, one that was vegetarian, and one to push boundaries.
When I found out that Whole Foods didn't have any lamb sausage on hand, I decided to get the ground lamb and season it myself. I used a fork to work chopped fresh sage and dill, shallots, garlic, a few drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper into my lamb. Then I made little one-inch patties, which were small enough to cook through by the time the crust browned. I added slivers of fresh green beans, a little shaved onion, and feta cheese to complete the pizza. All the ingredients for a traditional springtime dinner came out of the oven browned and bubbled together. I will absolutely be making this pizza again.
The zucchini and yellow squash were about 4 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter. Bigger than baby vegetables that frequent the springtime plates in restaurants, but smaller than their summer brethren. Thinly sliced, generously sprinkled with fresh dill, and topped with mildly assertive Bucheron goat cheese, they became part of a perfect appetizer.
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Beets were the only item I planned to buy before I got to the store. I knew I wanted to make a golden beet pizza (red beets would work, but be awfully messy). I had some honeycomb I was dying to put on a pizza and wanted to try it with the beets. I added thin slices of kumquats for a tart-sour zing, smoked salt, pepper, and fresh mozzarella. The pizza was really sweet, but the smoked salt kept it just this side of dessert. I'd make a beet pizza again, but next time I'll use a more assertive cheese, like the Bucheron, to add some depth to its flavors.
I think of pizza crust as a blank canvas (and in fact taught a creativity class with that as the theme). Spring is a time to explore and create. It's also a good time to eat pizza.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.