Today I want to know—what brings you joy? This week for me, it’s the return of the outdoor Madison Farmers Market, triumphant singing, and Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza.
Joy is not exactly the first emotion that strikes on a Monday morning. I’d say my typical Monday mood is a combination of “that weekend was too short” and “more coffee please.”
Today, however, I say we take 30 seconds to set the Monday-morning blues aside and focus on one thing that makes us do a happy dance.
The return of asparagus lights me up each spring.
Whether we’re keeping it simple with Roasted Asparagus or Grilled Asparagus, using it to top this Easy Asparagus Tart, or busting out the good stuff for Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus, I try to take as much advantage of its preciously short season as I can.
Asparagus and leeks are seasonal springtime besties.
When I was envisioning this pizza, caramelizing the leeks was a clear choice for the first topping (think caramelized onions with a more subtle, inherently sweet flavor).
Asparagus followed for its perfect pairing with leeks and its perma-presence in my fridge from March through May.
Rather than sauté the asparagus, I used Deb’s brilliant technique of shaving it into ribbons, which preserved the asparagus’ flavor and texture. After trying her method, I’ll never serve an asparagus pizza any other way.
To give the pizza extra heartiness, I topped it with spicy ground turkey.
I love the way the turkey’s flavor mixed with the caramely leeks, without overpowering the pizza.
A dusting of nutty pecorino cheese is both delectable and necessary, and a quick drizzle of olive oil completes this scrumptious spring pie.
Oh, and the base for this heavenly pizza was my favorite Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. It just never fails me.
Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza is also an ideal make-ahead meal.
- Prepare the dough and sauté the toppings the night before.
- The next night, pull the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking, and you’re 20 minutes away from a fab, fresh spring dinner.
- I’ve taken to doubling the topping. It’s the same amount of effort, and that way we can enjoy Spicy Turkey, Leek, and Asparagus Pizza two separate nights during the week. It is that good.
Spicy Turkey, Leek and Asparagus Pizza
- 1/2 recipe 1 crust Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (or your favorite pizza dough recipe—enough to yield one 11×14-inch pizza)
- 1/2 pound asparagus
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons divided, plus additional for brushing
- 2 large leeks (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 1/2 pound ground turkey**
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 ounces freshly grated pecorino cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons truffle oil* or substitute olive oil
- Place rack in top third of oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Generously dust a large baking sheet with cornmeal or flour or line with parchment paper.
- Prepare the asparagus: Lay each asparagus spear on the counter and hold by the “tough” end. With a vegetable peeler, shave long ribbons of asparagus by sliding the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks. (The pieces may be different sizes and some may be too small to shave.) Discard tough stem ends. In a small bowl, toss the shavings with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook leeks until softened, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the turkey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and fennel. Sauté until the meat is fully cooked and no pink remains, about 4 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11×14-inch rectangle, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush dough liberally with olive oil, then top with the leeks, turkey, and pecorino. Pile the asparagus on top. (It may seem like a lot of asparagus, but it will cook down as it bakes.) Carefully side the pizza onto the prepared peel/pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Drizzle with oil and serve.
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