Thursday, May 14, 2009


Oops. When I promised an end to the asparagus recipes yesterday, I had forgotten that I had this one waiting on deck. But I assure you, it’s worth breaking my promise for. I adapted it from a Bon Appetit tart recipe I saw at Serious Eats. The topping sounded deliciously springy with the lemon, thyme, and crème fraiche, but I didn’t really want another recipe that involves puff pastry. It’s delicious and all, but it’s also expensive, pretty high in fat, and markedly less tasty when reheated—not to mention that Trader Joe’s seems to have retired its all-butter puff pastry sheets, the only non-trans-fat puff pastry product I could find. Give me a pizza crust any day, I thought as I read the recipe. Then I realized that this would probably work pretty well as a pizza, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. And I’m glad I did, because I really liked the result. The ingredients complemented each other beautifully, and the crème fraiche added a silky texture that, while a bit unusual for a pizza sauce, was pleasantly addictive. I almost think this would almost be too rich as a tart, with that cream and cheese atop a buttery pastry crust (not to mention that the original recipe used twice as much butter as I did for sautéing the mushrooms), smothering the poor fresh vegetables. Pizza crust provided a lighter, more neutral platform the allowed the flavors to shine.

Dough for 1 pizza (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved and then thinly sliced
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
½ pound thin fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¾ teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
¼ cup crème fraîche
¼ cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 ounce)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Add asparagus, chopped thyme, lemon peel, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and crème fraîche to mushrooms and mix well.

3. Roll out dough and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Spread mushroom-asparagus mixture evenly over dough and sprinkle Gruyere over the top.

4. Bake about 15 minutes, until crust is browned.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: Good

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