Asparagus, Ricotta, and Garlic Scape & Pistachio Pesto Spring Flatbreads

A celebration of fresh spring ingredients.

Source: localmilkblog.com

Ingredients

1 batch no-knead pizza dough (click for recipe)

For pesto (NB: Garlic scape pesto is also available from Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes):
30g (1/4 cup) grated Tomme style or Alpine cheese (Elgaar Farm, Southern Sky Cheese Company)
45g (1/3 cup) pistachios (alternatively use roasted hazelnuts from Hazelbrae Hazelnuts)
40g (2 cups) basil lightly packed (if fresh basil isn’t available, try parsley or another green leafy herb or vegetable of your choice from one of the Harvest producers)
75g (1/2 cup) garlic scapes (Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes)
25g lemon juice (half a medium lemon’s worth)
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste (Tasman Sea Salt)
110g (1/2 cup) olive oil (Coronea Grove Olives, Lentara Grove, Mt Direction Olives, Village Olive Grove)

For topping:
Flavorful, high quality olive oil for brushing (Coronea Grove Olives, Lentara Grove, Mt Direction Olives, Village Olive Grove)
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (Tasman Sea Salt)
Garlic scape pesto (Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes or as above)
Asparagus (3-4 stalks per pizza), trimmed of woody ends (Headlam Farm Tasmanian Fresh Asparagus, Newry Farm Asparagus)
15oz tub whole milk ricotta (alternatively you could try fresh goat cheese from Southern Sky Cheese Company)

Optional toppings:
Stinging nettles tossed lightly with olive oil (use tongs or gloves!) (or other seasonal leafy greens from Laos Fresh Farm, Seven Springs Farm or Steve’s Vegies)
Heads of garlic scapes, halved (Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes)
Thinly sliced radishes (Laos Fresh Farm, Seven Springs Farm, Steve’s Vegies)
Sliced oyster mushrooms (or other wild mushroom)
Farm eggs (add to center of pizza halfway through cooking for runny yolk) (Mooreville Gardens, Mt Roland Free Range Eggs)
Edible flowers (we used arugula flowers & red russian kale flowers), add after baking
Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. The evening before you intend to serve them, prepare your dough. It needs to ferment for about 18 hours after which you’ll form it into balls for individual flatbreads. After forming, they can be covered & refrigerated up to 3 days, so you can easily make them ahead.
  2. Before baking you’ll need to heat your oven and your pizza stone for a solid hour as hot as your oven goes (500-550°F usually). If you’re using the back of a baking sheet to bake them on (the alternative to a stone), you will not need to heat the baking sheet but will still need to heat the oven. When it’s time to bake you’ll switch the oven to broil.
  3. Prepare the pesto. It can be made up to a week in advance or even months in advance if you freeze it, making this spring treat ideal to make in bulk and then save for use when you’d like a taste of spring later in the year. Place all ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a mini food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped and combined. Don’t over process; pesto should have texture and not be smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, perhaps adding more salt or lemon juice, to your liking. Cover until ready to serve and refrigerate if not using that day.
  4. Form your dough according to the instructions in the recipe on top of your pizza peel which should be dusted with cornmeal or flour. I prefer cornmeal. You want to top them on the peel as once topped they will be difficult to transfer.
  5. To top, first brush lightly with olive oil. Then spread a couple of spoonfuls of pesto evenly over the flatbread. On top of that smash about 3 generous spoonfuls of ricotta on the pizza. I don’t spread it evenly but rather just flatten a couple of dollops on top. Arrange asparagus spears on top, lightly sprinkle, add any other toppings you like at this point except egg or flowers, and then lightly sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Turn oven to broil when ready to cook, and bake flatbreads 5-7 minutes beneath the broiler (your stone should be heated on the highest rack in the oven as per the instructions). Mine usually take about 5. If topping with egg, I add it at the two minute mark. To transfer uncooked pizzas to the stone use a very quick, small back and forth motion to shimmy them onto the stone (which should remain in the oven). To remove, scoop them off with the peel. Top with herbs or flowers as desired, slice, and serve hot with small lemon wedges & a pinch of sea salt on the side. If I’ve added and egg, I salt the egg lightly once I remove it from the oven.