Friday, March 21, 2014

Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night

A terrific pizza for Spring--salty cubes of country ham paired with leeks and roasted asparagus, finished with a sunny side up egg.

Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts

This pizza started on a treadmill and ended with a ham biscuit.
Oh, not exactly on a treadmill--but it was while I was on a treadmill [in socks, as it never occurred to me to bring my walking shoes to Ft Wayne, Indiana in February where I was scraping 3 to 5 inches of snow off the van each time I wanted to drive to or from the hockey rink--I don't recommend walking on a treadmill in socks] that I saw a Diners, Dives, and . . . . Drive Ins maybe? show on Food Network.  Not having cable TV at home I'm not up on all this lingo.  On that show, a talented pizza maker in Minnesota, after pulling a kimchi pizza out of a copper pizza oven that I am swooning over still, cracked an egg on a mostly cooked pizza, used a giant-handled pizza peel to lift it up to the upper dome of the oven, and cooked it just a wee bit.  Holy cow that looked good!
When I got a hankering for country ham biscuits--I think because my car was encrusted with salt but I'm not 100% sure--I had enough country ham left over to try my hand at an egg on a pizza.

Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts
Yeah, the crust is um blackened. It's a Feature.
There you are--treadmills to ham biscuits, from Minnesota to the Capitol of the Confederacy . . . on a pizza.

I wrote that introduction after my first attempt at cooking an egg on a pizza, thinking that surely I'd perfect the method with my second attempt.  I mean, I make pizzas for a living a whole lot, you'd think if any home cook in a kitchen could bang this thing out it in a try or two it would be me.  But the reality is I've tried this twice, and while I'm getting better and the results taste great each time, it's not perfect.  Yet.
So why am I posting?  Consider this a Keeping It Real edition of Friday Night Pizza Night.  A [literal, thanks to the spouse's new camera] behind the scenes in my kitchen.  A jumping off place for your home pizza making. Maybe seeing my failures will make you feel better about your less-than-optimal results in the kitchen?  I hope so. I'm trying right alongside you all.
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts
Wee Oliver Picklepants is my kitchen assistant today.
This pizza is a fiddly one.  When I get into trouble with a recipe, I take it down to the bare essentials.
  •  I tried this with homemade dough and it . . . um, well, it burned blackened before the eggs were fully set.  So I bought a Boboli® [No sponsorship. I bought it, they don't know I exist] to take the whole 'baking the crust' aspect out of the equation. The result was better, but I'm picky in that I prefer my egg whites to be . . . well, white . . . when I eat them.  
  • I made this without, and then with, roasted asparagus.  It's better with more vegetables, like many things are in life. 
  • I tried this with an assortment of cheeses.  I do not like to use slices of fresh mozzarella on this pizza, but shredded mozzarella, shredded cheddar, Grand Cru all taste good.
  • I've made this with country ham and regular ham, and I prefer the country ham (if you eat ham, that is--leave it off if you don't, and the salty cheese will still rock on with the leeks, asparagus, and egg).
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts

NOTE: This recipe is not gluten free as written, because I used a pizza crust containing gluten. To adapt this recipe for a gluten free diet please substitute the gluten free pizza crust of your choice.
Check labels to confirm that your other ingredients are also gluten free. Good sources for determining gluten free products can be found here:
http://knowgluten.me/2012/03/31/other-names-for-gluten/
http://glutenfreedoctor.com/gluten-free/
http://www.celiac.com/categories/Safe-Gluten%252dFree-Food-List-%7B47%7D-Unsafe-Foods-%26amp%3B-Ingredients/

Egg, Country Ham, Roasted Asparagus and Leek Pizza

12-15 stalks of asparagus (if you've got a bundle, roast 'em all and use half)
olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons total, divided)
salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each, to start)
1 prebaked pizza crust of your choice
1 clove roasted garlic (here's how I put up my garlic crop, or use minced fresh)
⅓ cup sliced leeks (thawed if frozen. what? of course you can freeze leeks)
½ cup finely diced country ham, or regular ham
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar, or mozzarella, or Grand Cru cheese, or a blend
3 eggs, set out so they become room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss asparagus with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Spread in a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, then shake the pan and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and then switch the oven over to the Broil setting.  I think at least 10 minutes of the oven hanging out on the Broil setting would do the trick. I did 5, enough to top the pizza and take some photos, and I should have let it go longer.
Combine the remaining Tablespoon olive oil with a smashed clove of roasted garlic or minced fresh garlic. Brush this roasted garlic oil over the crust, and think of your friend Heather who gave you the idea to use roasted garlic oil in the first place.  Scatter leeks and ham across the crust, then place the asparagus thusly in a pleasing pattern (I did it like spokes, and that works for me).  Top with shredded cheese, leaving 3 open areas without cheese to nestle the eggs.  Make these open areas towards the outer edge of the pizza crust, because if your egg is in the middle it will never cook. Trust me. Crack the eggs into the open areas.  Place the pizza under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until the egg is set but before the crust burns becomes a Featured Blackened Crust.  If necessary, take the pizza out and cut it before returning it to the broiler to fully cook the egg white.  I don't really care about the yolk--it can be runny, but my egg white needs to be not clear.

Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts

Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza--a Peek Behind the Scenes of Pizza Night | Farm Fresh Feasts

This post is shared on the From the Farm Blog Hop, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, Simple Supper Tuesdays

14 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! Friday night is always grilled pizza night at my house, and was searching around for an interesting pizza idea.

    http://acricketsang.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebekah,
      I won a pizza grill pan a couple of months ago and I am looking forward to grilling pizza when it's too hot to turn on my oven this summer.
      Thanks!

      Delete
  2. You need a Dr Seuss-ian name for this pizza if you're going to post it at this time of year!!!

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    Replies
    1. Linda,
      You're absolutely right. It would kill SEO, but it would be adorable. Last year I posted Green Eggs No Ham for Dr Seuss' birthday, but this year I was working on beet spread and chili and missed my window.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. I have to say this is completely right up my alley! YUM!!!! I am definitely going to try this one! Thanks so much for linking up to the "From The Farm" Blog Hop this week!

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    Replies
    1. KarenLynn,
      I wish you fully cooked egg white and nicely browned pizza crust if you try this!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. That first picture is amazing: swoon worth, drool worthy, all kinds of worthy.

    I'm digging the flavor profile here, and I can already imagine how excited the Hubby will be when I crack an egg on his next pizza, although I'm with you 100%. My whites need to be white; no clear stuff up in here.

    Great intro too; I like traveling with you.

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    Replies
    1. Meghan,
      Thanks--it was really hard to take a good picture of this pizza thanks to all the . . . Blackened . . . parts. And it's not like burned toast that you can just scrape off.
      Ah well--thanks my friend!

      Delete
  5. That is seriously one of the more beautiful pizzas I've ever seen. And keep working at it, eventually it will be effortless - such is the life of recipe development... :)

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    Replies
    1. Julie,
      Effortless-ha!
      (Will cleaning ever be effortless? Writing? I keep working at those . . .)
      Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Love that runny egg! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

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    Replies
    1. Karly,
      I love a runny egg yolk, though I'm not so much a fan of the runny egg white . . .
      Thanks for hosting!

      Delete
  7. This is an interesting pizza, that I would love to try! Beautiful. Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday

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    Replies
    1. Cindy,
      Admit it, it's kinda strange! Like I said in my notes, I was inspired by that TV show, though I do come up with plenty of weirdness (ahem, beet crust pizza anyone?) on my own.
      Thanks for hosting!

      Delete