Spring has finally arrived! Annoyingly in Ontario this means a long drawn out end to the winter. The snow takes ages to fully melt and the risks of frost carry on well into May. Sheesh spring! But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy at least a little bit of spring produce.
In the past, my garden hasn’t really taken off until after the spring produce part of the year. This is sadly the case this year again, except that this year my pantry was slightly more prepared.
Last spring while working part time for a local CSA farm, I was able to preserve some spring veggies! This farm is wonderful and if you are in the West Ottawa area you should probably check out Indian Creek Orchard Gardens. The baskets are really big, and Scott and Marissa make sure to grow an amazing variety of veg so you are always eating something interesting. I was introduced to a bunch of things I hadn’t tried before, which just got me more excited to expand my own garden!
Something they had in abundance was radishes. And not just the plain round red ones. There were beautiful thin french ones, tiny super peppery ones, and of course the incredible black radishes. Black radishes are so spicy you can actually just grate a bit of one into a large dish more like a seasoning than a vegetable; so cool!
The massive amount of radishes I had last spring was wonderful but I didn’t want to waste any of them. So of course the pickling started! If you haven’t pickled radishes before, you definitely should try it. They maintain their spicy bite which is perfectly complimented by the sugary vinegar. For this spring pizza you should use whatever radishes you have around. Fresh ones would be equally as delicious and will had a splash of colour.
Radish greens were also getting used last spring to make pesto. I used one of my radish pesto that has pistachios for this spring pizza. I’ll include a quick pesto recipe down below, but if you want a more in depth look into pesto making check out my Anything Pesto post here.
Lamb is a quintessential spring meat. I know a lot of folks aren’t huge fans of lamb, but I promise, the lamb on this spring pizza is super easy, and not overly greasy tasting. All you need is a slow cooker, or you can cook it all day low and slow in your oven. I’m not a huge fan of excessive mint with lamb, so this pizza has a touch of mint as garnish, but the lamb itself is seasoned with Herb de Provence. It’s just a nicer combination that helps compliment the buttery meat.
Shredding the lamb is key to making it work on this pizza. If the pieces are too large, they will overtake the other ingredients.
Takes Some Time
Since this is a pizza, and it involves slow cooked meat, it does need some forethought. The dough can be made the day before or started in the morning with the meat. This is the kind of thing that I start in the morning on a weekend and don’t complete until the evening. So make sure you have a good day or so. You could also start the night before and let your pizza dough hang out in the fridge (which develops flavour really well).
It ends up being a perfect combination of spring flavours and is totally worth the bit of extra planning!
Perfect Spring Pizza
Slow Cooked Lamb
- 2 Lbs Boneless Lamb Leg
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Herb de Provence Linked below
- 500 ml Hard Apple Cider
- Olive Oil for Searing
Quick Radish Pesto
- 2 cups Radish Greens
- 1 cup Basil Leaves
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Toasted Pistachios
- 3/4 cup Fresh Parmesan Grated
- 1 cup Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper To Tastes
- 1 Recipe Basic Pizza Dough Linked Below
- 1 cup Radishes Fresh or Pickled, Sliced.
- 1 cup Marinated Artichoke Hearts Halved or quartered
- 1 Ball Buffalo Mozzarella
- 4 Spring Onions Sliced
- Small Bunch Fresh Pea Shoots
- Small Bunch Fresh Mint Leaves picked
- Olive oil For Drizzling
- Corn Meal For dusting pizza Peel
Slow Cooked Lamb
- Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Remove any string or netting from your lamb leg. Pat the meat dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and Herb de Provence.
- Sear the leg for a minute or so on each side to get a nice crust.
- Place your seared lamb into a slow cooker. Pour the cider over it. Set it to low heat and allow to cook for 8 hours. Meat should be shredding apart.
- Allow meat to cool on a cutting board until it can be handled. Shred it with two forks. Set aside until ready to top pizzas.
- Combine All ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Pulse a few times to start the mixing. Then run on full while pouring the oil in the top. Blend a few more seconds until only a little bit coarse. Add more oil as needed to get a slightly thin consistency. You want to be able to spread this thinly over your raw pizza crust. Season to Taste. Set aside.
- About 2.5 hours before your lamb is ready, start your pizza dough. Your dough balls should be ready to roll out when you are ready with the rest of the toppings.
- Dice up all your toppings and have them at the ready for topping.
- Heat your oven to 500F with a pizza stone or up turned baking sheet inside.
- Roll out your first dough ball. Thoroughly dust a pizza peel with cornmeal. Lay the pizza dough onto the peel. Spoon on a dollop of pesto and spread it thinly over the whole crust, right out to the edges. Top with radishes and artichokes, followed by shredded lamb. Rip off small pieces of mozzarella and lay on top.
- Slide the pizza off the peel onto your hot stone. Bake for roughly 7 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the cheese is browning and the toppings are sizzling nicely. Repeat with your other pizza doughs until you have baked them all.
- Before serving, top with pea shoots, mint, and green onions. If you have extra pesto, mix it with extra olive oil and drizzle it on top.