Pizza is a canvas for season’s freshest veggies

If you’ve signed up for a CSA, the action is an expression of optimism.

Community-supported agriculture, explained in a previous post, represents hope for a bountiful harvest months in the future. Maybe shares will yield enough produce for favorite dishes: eggplant Parmesan or stuffed peppers, perhaps.

Looking forward, the seasonal cook won’t compromise with vegetables that have yet to attain their prime. Not when weeks and weeks of nonstop enjoyment lie ahead. It’s why eggplant Parmesan, as I’ve explained several times over the years, won’t ever grace my table in March.

As farmers markets return to operation this month, and growers are planning for their heyday of summer and fall, now is the time to appreciate the scant but precious selection of locally grown vegetables.

That’s why I love this pizza recipe from McClatchy News Service. Instead of relying on tomato sauce and basil, decidedly summery flavors, it celebrates spring radishes and the first herbs to emerge from barren soil. The ricotta cheese adds richness without overwhelming the delicate vegetable. Honey tempers the radishes’ peppery bite.

The flatbread would make a lovely light meal with the salad featured in the last post to this blog. Or I would top it with the arugula or pea shoots that came with my last CSA share.

Chicago Tribune photo

Roasted Radish Flatbread With Ricotta, Honey and Herbs

1 pizza dough recipe

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 cup ricotta (full-fat)

5 plump spring radishes, sliced paper-thin

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 500 F. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it, too. (Otherwise, use a baking sheet.)

Stretch the dough into a thin round. Brush with the olive oil and spread the ricotta over dough. Lay radishes in a single layer on top. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until crust edge has golden spots.

Remove flatbread from oven. Drizzle with the honey, and sprinkle on the herbs and salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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