Friday, June 14, 2013

Caramelized Scallion, Garlic Scape and Asparagus Pizza

We're halfway through June already and Farmers' Markets are in full swing.  This year, I joined a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - and bought a half share from my farmer, Ort Farms.  Every week, from May through October, I get a bag full of amazing goodies.  It also means, I have a week to use up all of those amazing goodies before the next bag arrives.  As a result, the good news is,  I'm cooking more.  The bad new is, I'm cooking more! 
This week, poking out of my goody bag, was one of my favorite farmers market items...garlic scapes. What, you ask, is a garlic scape?  Exactly the question I asked myself the first time I laid eyes on them.

When you sign up for a CSA you have to have at least a little bit of an adventurous nature when it comes to food.  Garlic scapes are your first test of the season.  One look at them and you think "what the heck to I do with them?!"
The twisty, curly, bright green stems, sometimes called garlic shoots, stems or spears are the top of the garlic plant.  The bulb and roots grow underground while the stem, leaves and scapes soak up sunshine above.
These treats show up late spring or early summer.  They taste like garlic, but a bright, fresh version of it. You can use them anywhere you'd use regular garlic. Cooking with garlic scapes is bit like having a very garlicky scallion -- so be adventurous and get some while they're around!

I wanted to make something that used lots of the gorgeous purple scallions that were in my bag as well as the bright scapes.  I also had an abundance of asparagus, which is a perfect partner to the scallions and scapes.  I caramelized the scallions to intensify the flavor, added the scapes and asparagus and put all of that goodness on a whole wheat pizza crust and finished it off with some smoked fresh mozzarella - delicious! Can't wait to see what's in next week's goody bag!

Caramelized Scallion, Garlic Scape and Asparagus Pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches purple scallions, sliced*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic scapes, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound refrigerated fresh whole wheat pizza dough
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
8 ounces smoked or regular fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lightly oil a 16-inch pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add scallions and salt and cook 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic scapes and cook 5 minutes or until scallions begin to caramelize and scapes are tender.  Add asparagus and cook 5 minutes or until tender-crisp.

Roll or stretch dough out to a 15 to 16-inch circle.  Place on prepared pan.  Brush dough all over with pesto, then top with asparagus mixture.  Arrange cheese evenly over pizza.

Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is golden brown.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

*If you don't have scallions from a farmer's market, look for very large scallion in your supermarket.  You can also substitute a large onion for the scallions.