Spikes of asparagus in the kitchen garden are a sure sign that the British spring has truly arrived. Melanie Johnson has created a wonderful spring dish using these tender stems perfect for a light dinner.
Ingredients (for two pizzas)
For the pizza dough:
- 200ml warm water
- 1tspn caster sugar
- 7g dried yeast (one sachet)
- 125g plain flour
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 1tspn salt
- Olive oil for greasing
For the pesto base sauce:
- 4tbspn pesto
- 100ml olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1tbspn wholegrain mustard
For the topping:
- 12 asparagus spears
- 100g garden peas
- 200g burrata cheese
- 6 slices Parma ham
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- A handful of rocket
- 2tspn chilli flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6.
Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for two minutes, then refresh them in ice water (to retain their colour) and cut them in half. Similarly, blanch and refresh the garden peas.
Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a jug and leave for a few moments. Place the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the contents of the jug into the well and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough, then use floured hands to bring it together into a ball. Knead for about 10 minutes, by which time it should be smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave for about an hour in a warm place to double in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the base sauce by simply adding the pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and seasoning to an old jam jar and shaking vigorously (lid firmly on). Set aside.
Divide the risen pizza dough into two halves. Gently roll each out as thinly as you can and place them on an oiled baking sheet.
Brush the pizza bases generously with the pesto sauce and then scatter with the prepared asparagus and peas. Bake for 10 minutes or until the base is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and arrange pieces of the burrata over the hot pizzas, together with the Parma ham, spring onions, rocket and chilli flakes. Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
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