Blame Paula Deen. Or heck, let’s leave her out of this for once. Blame generations of well-meaning chefs and cooks who have defined Southern cooking with adjectives like battered, fried, buttered, and smothered, rather than the most important one of all: fresh. Steven Satterfield, of Miller Union in Atlanta, isn’t the first chef to make the case that our diet is rooted in garden soil. But in his new cookbook, he presents a vegetable-centric cuisine that is as appealing in its restraint as a salt-and-peppered slice of tomato, particularly as we lift our heads from the larded stew pots of cold months past to nibble on new harvests of asparagus, peas, and strawberries. Root to Leaf is divided by season, and the spring chapter contains such uncomplicated creations as this spring onion pizza, made with a wholesome whole wheat dough.
Food & Drink
Spring Onion Pizza
One 12-inch pizza
A spring recipe from chef Steven Satterfield
Photo: John Kernick
1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (recipe below)
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 spring leek, thinly sliced
1 green garlic stalk, thinly sliced (or 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped)
2 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose), plus more for the work surface
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the pizza:
Place a pizza stone in the oven or on the grill and heat to 500°F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to fit the pizza stone. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cookie sheet or upside-down baking sheet. This will be the vessel to help transfer the pizza to the hot stone. Scatter the onion, leek, garlic, and scallions evenly across the surface of the dough, leaving 1-inch border. Place the mozzarella pieces randomly across the pizza with space in between them. Sprinkle the oregano, marjoram, and thyme over the pizza. Drizzle the pizza lightly with olive oil.
With a long, wide spatula, transfer the pizza carefully onto the hot stone. If grilling, close the lid to the grill. Let cook 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is fully cooked and crispy on the edges and the toppings are beginning to lightly brown. Cooking time will vary, depending on your grill or oven and the thickness of the crust. If baking in the oven, and the dough is done but the toppings are not, turn on the broiler to finish baking.
When the pizza is ready, remove with a long, wide spatula, and transfer back to the cookie sheet or upside-down baking sheet to cool slightly. Slice the pizza and garnish with fresh parsley.
For the pizza dough:
In a large bowl, combine the 1½ cups flour and salt. In a small bowl, combine the yeast and ½ cup lukewarm water, and let sit for 1 minute. Gently stir 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the yeast mixture, and add the liquid to the dry ingredients. Using a sturdy spoon, stir the dough until just combined. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface, and knead until a cohesive ball forms. If the dough is difficult to work with, place the large bowl over the dough for a few minutes and allow it to rest.
Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil into the large bowl. Roll the dough ball in the bowl to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour or more.
Put the dough back onto the floured surface and, with the palms of your hands, punch out the air from the dough. Re-form a ball and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and set aside for 20 to 25 minutes to rest. Return it to the floured surface one more time and roll it out.