Asparagus and Mushroom Pizza

Recipe courtesy of "Eat Yourself Smart" by Charlie Ayers, copyright 2008. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Asparagus and Mushroom Pizza

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    350 g (12 oz) unbleached bread flour 450 g (1 lb) sliced assorted mushrooms (have fun-use shiitakes, maitakes, chanterelles, portobellos, and even cultivated white mushrooms )
    3 tbsp whole wheat flour 2 large shallots or red onions, sliced
    25 g (1 oz) fine yellow cornmeal (polenta) 115 g (4 oz) shredded Savoy cabbage
    2 tsp kosher salt 115 g (4 oz) grated Manchego cheese
    Pinch of unrefined granulated sugar 115 g (4 oz) grated Asiago or other melting cheese (such as Swiss)
    1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or basil leaves
    1 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
    360 ml (12 fl oz) warm water 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
    115 g (4 oz) thin asparagus spears, trimmed and halved lengthways Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Olive oil


    Prep: 25 min Total: 45 min
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    • 1

      First make the dough. Mix the flours with the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Stir in the yeast. Add the oil and then the water and mix to form a soft but not sticky dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Place in an oiled plastic bag and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

    • 2

      Alternatively, put all the ingredients in a food processor or electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and run the machine until a ball of dough forms. Run it for 1 minute longer, to knead the dough. Wrap and let rise.

    • 3

      Knock back the dough and knead briefly until smooth. Divide into four balls. Put each ball on an oiled baking sheet and press out with your fingers to stretch evenly to a round about 20cm (8in) in diameter. Cover with oiled cling film and let rise for 30 minutes.

    • 4

      Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and pan-grill, turning once, until bright green, slashed with brown, and just tender, about 4 minutes. Cut in short lengths on the bias and set aside.

    • 5

      Heat 2 tbsp oil in the pan and saute the mushrooms until softened, 1–2 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add another 1 tbsp oil to the pan and saute the shallots and cabbage, stirring, until they are softening slightly, about 2 minutes.

    • 6

      Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Top the risen pizza bases with the cheeses, then the mushrooms, then the asparagus, and then the cabbage and shallot. Sprinkle with half the herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a sprinkling of salt and a grinding of pepper. Bake until the crust is golden around the edges and crisp underneath, about 20 minutes. If necessary, swap the sheets halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs before serving.

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