O.K., I admit it, I am a fanatic for Bellwether Farms cheeses. I saved some of thier fabulous crescenza from my exploits in Italy just in time for morel mushroom season! It’s also time for the farmers to start trimming the tops in thier garlic fields, life cannot connect the culinary dots any better than this!
The older I get, the more I notice that when it comes to really fabulous pizza, perfection is more easily obtained with great ingredients and simplicity. The Bellwether Crescenza has matured from it’s creamy, young state and has become more tart, assertive and lemony with that hard to duplicate coastal nuance from the California breezes. The Italian Fontina I will pair with this creamy cheese will add a textural mouth chew and allow the light morels to stay afloat atop this melting cream. This pizza is simple and is gonna rock, and, because of new technology, you can now just lick the screen and taste the perfect springtime pizza. (I’ll wait.)**
This year there is a bumper crop of morels here in southeast Ohio. They are as thick in the woods as fleas on a tick, (or is it ticks on a flea.) The rain and mild climate are making the asparagus bolt faster and the mushrooms are poppin’ as fast as people can pick ‘em. I’ve pried myself away from Athens, Ohio and Avalanche Pizza long enough to make this pie and this entry.
Here is my recent cache of grey and blonde morels. For scale I included a Star Wars laser pistol (with silencer, of course.)
It’s too bad that the State of Ohio has issued a decree that any and all wild mushrooms are off limits for me to prepare for my customers. This level of absurdity even covers morels, which do not look like any other mushroom at all. They have no poison twin sister out there that even looks like a real morel.
Instead, (this is the hilarious part) I have to buy morel mushrooms from China, and; guess what? They grow wild there and are harvested, dried, put in bags and sold to large food conglomerates to ship to Ohio. This is a perfect example of the level of corruption in our food system under the guise of “making food safer.” Our wonderful corporate barons have slowly eroded our culinary knowledge about wild things and have even lobbied governments to make it illegal to sell any food made from nature. But enough of the rant, lets eat a great freakin’ pie from the forest and the field!
Close up of the grey morel on the left and the coveted blonde morel on the right.
Garlic tops are the tops of the garlic plant that get cut off to facilitate a larger bulb in the ground. Rich Tomsu has graciously given me boatloads of this glorious and pungent plant. The tops, when ground up, present a smooth mellow garlic tang unlike a raw bulb. I love to pair this with cashews (the roasted, salted kind) and extra virgin olive oil.
Here is Rich Tomsu of Rich Organic Gardens. He’s one of the most dedicated farmers I’ve met. That’s a garlic top that wasn’t trimmed on the right. Looks for all the world like some psycho-orchid.
Make two, seven-ounce dough ballsl from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog. Put one in the freezer unless you are making two pies.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a pizza stone or heavy cookie sheet upside-down on the middle rack.
Six to eight garlic tops
Two ounces roasted salted cashews
Six tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Three ounces Fontina cheese
Five ounces Bellweather Farms Crescenza cheese
Five large morel mushrooms or up to 10 smaller ones
Just a splash of black truffle oil
Chop the garlic tops into very small rounds as close to a chiffinade cut as possible. (this prevents a stringyness to occur in the pesto.) Place in a food processor, pestle or a glass container (if using an immersion blender) with the olive oil, cashews and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until nice and viscous like above.
Bang out the dough ball as prescribed in the Easy Dough method to create a 10 to 12 inch round disc.
Place the Crescenza then the Fontina on the dough disc.
Slice the morels lengthwise and create a starburst pattern, cut the last one horizontally creating hollow rounds, place this in the middle of the pizza. Sprinkle with black truffle oil for a spectacular taste.
Place the pesto on and slice into the hot, preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes until golden brown along the edges and more brown on the bottom.
** Oh, after you clean the saliva off your screen, I have a great website for great desert acreage in the Sahara.