4.23.2006

Trip to the Farmer's Market for pizza toppings

After watching Wolfgang Puck make pizza on Martha Stewart's show earlier this week, I started getting excited for the weekend and my first chance to use our new Kitchen Aid mixer: pizza dough! R*, CQ and I are having our regular Sunday dinner together tonight and I thought it would be great to pick out a bunch of spring vegetable toppings.



Yesterday, after a stop at Tom's Diner for crab cakes and fried eggs, I headed out to the Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market, between Park Slope and Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, determined to find what I would need to top four eight inch pizzas.

I was hoping for ramps, but the first thing I came across was spinach and scallions at the Phillips Farm stand. The rain-wet air had kept them looking springy crisp and green.



Next, at another stand, I found beautiful but picked-over Jersey asparagus. The one crate of asparagus, carefully wrapped in moist burlap, was definitely the star of the market: the Park Slopers were lining up to get at it, so I couldn't snap a photo of it. I don't know why people pulled all the thicker stalks out and only bought the pencil thin pieces. I think the thicker pieces of asparagrus will best stand up to the heat of the oven when I bake my pizzas. You should have seen how happy the woman behind me was when she saw I was going to leave her the last of the thin pieces.

He also had one lonely leek left. I grabbed it before anyone else could. Leek pizza? Sure, why not.



As I paid, the farmer (and this guy was the real farmer, who really grew the stuff he sold, it's great when that happens) who was running the stand said that he would have brought more asparagus, but that he thought that it would rain and close the market early, so he didn't bring too much of the good stuff with him.

I started to see that there wasn't going to be a large selection of vegetables for my pizza.



This week, the market was mostly about flowers and those apples they've been pushing all winter. (Nothing against apples, but I want the spring stuff!)



And the fish stand was out of shrimp, clams and scallops. I grabbed some potatoes -- I could use up the pesto I bought for ministrone soup a while back and make a pesto and potato pizza similar to what I discovered when I was interning in San Francisco.

I realized I needed some color, so I picked up some peppers. They aren't really a spring vegetable and they seemed a little over priced, but I went for it.



I started to head home, but then I decided I'd check the organic greens stand. I don't stop at their stand that often because I think the people who run the stand aren't friendly. Part of the fun of the farmer's market is talking to the vendors and learning from them. In the spirit of my pizza project, I thought I would give them another try.



I saw this elegant Red Russian Kale. The leaves are so finely detailed, each outlined in purple. I didn't think they would do well in the oven and the woman running the stand coldly agreed. Instead, I got some baby broccoli rabe and headed home to make the pizza dough.

Now, how best to combine these into three pizzas?

#1
Broccoli rabe
Roast garlic
Pancetta or prosciutto?

#2
Potato
Leek or Pesto?

#3
Spinach
Peppers
Scallion

Would the asparagus go better with #2 or #3 or should I make more than three pizzas? And what cheeses will work best?

2 Comments:

Anonymous ann said...

asparagus should go on pie 2!! yay! this is fun, it's like a game show, with pizza!
and your photos are beeee-yooot-eful chris!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very game show. give us a twirl Vanna.

4:08 PM  

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