Maitake Pizza

Maitake Pizza

Pie of the Week #1

One of my best, though sadly distant, friends did a cool burger journey, making probably every one of George Motz’ crazy burgers. Meanwhile, I’ve been in a serious, protracted cooking funk, going from my usual creative seasonal experiments to kinda boring stuff on repeat.

That’s a serious problem for someone trying to not only eat seasonally for his own health, community, and the environment, but also to encourage and enable others to do the same. Time to change.

I’m not gonna go through any particular person’s recipes or anything. Instead, I’m going to try to make (at least) one pizza a week that celebrates whatever is in season. I’ll source featured ingredients either at our own Hole in the Woods Farm, or from surrounding producer friends.

This week: maitake pizza (aka, Hen of the Woods mushroom):

A Neapolitan style pie, 3-cheese white “sauce,” Maitake mushrooms, Nabuka scallions, Provolone, Ricotta dollops, and Arugula microgreens.

I originally intended pesto for the sauce. Alas, while I thought I had a freezer full, I was out. And our basil crop this year was awful (January will be tough…). So, I made a 3-cheese sauce (1 part ricotta, 1 part mascarpone, 1/2 part fresh mozzarella, whir in the food processor).

Xenia foraged the mushroom from our farm, and I sautéed it in a bit of butter before building the pizza. The scallions were from the farm, and I used only the white parts at first.

I baked the maitake pizza on my bread stone at 550 F (as hot as my oven gets) for about 4 minutes. Then I added dollops of ricotta and some of the green part of the scallions. It finished baking in another 3 minutes. I added the arugula microgreens after taking it out of the oven.

The flavor and texture were quite appealing. I do want to be able to get a hotter oven to get the crispy/creamy crust right. However, the cheese “sauce” is pretty dry, and kept the crust from getting soggy cooking longer at a lower temp.

Mostly, I’m feeling my locavore creative juices flowing again. It’s refreshing and emboldening to once again feel motivated and creatively empowered by flavors, colors, and textures of the season, while letting the form of things take care of themselves. I sense some quality time with The Flavor Bible coming, too: always a good thing!

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