Spring is the season for asparagus. The tender green shoots popping out of the soil in early spring are especially prized for their fleeting seasonal appearance. Asparagus is extremely versatile, offering flavour to every recipe. For this recipe, you can make an authentic pizza dough or use a ready-made dough; you can also substitute with a gluten-free alternative base.
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose, whole wheat, or spelt flour, plus extra
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp/11 mL) active dry yeast 1 tsp (5 mL) raw cane sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating bowl
2/3 cup (160 mL) warm water, 105 to 115 F (40 to 46 C) Cornmeal, for dusting
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra 1/3 cup (80 mL) grated mozzarella, or dairy-free substitute
1 small sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
3 tsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill, divided, plus extra 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt, plus extra
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper, plus extra 1 cup (250 mL) fresh arugula or 1 small bunch fresh watercress
1/3 cup (80 mL) full-fat plain Greek yogurt, about 10% fat, or plain soy yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard 1/2 lb (225 g) thick stemmed asparagus
3 oz (85 g) thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon, cut into strips
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Coat medium-sized bowl with olive oil. In food processor, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. With motor running, add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil and warm water. Continue processing until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If too sticky, whirl in a couple more tablespoons of flour. Process for 1 more minute. Transfer to prepared bowl, turning dough in bowl to evenly coat. Cover with clean towel and set aside in warm place to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 475 F (240 C). Lightly oil baking sheet and set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 15 x 6 in (38 x 15 cm). Lift onto prepared baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil and scatter with mozzarella. Set aside. In large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Add onion slices and sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat and add a splash of water if they begin to stick and darken too quickly. Transfer to medium bowl and fold in 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh dill, salt, and pepper. Set aside to cool. Pick through arugula or watercress leaves, trimming away stalks. Wash and spin dry. Set leaves aside. In small bowl, combine yogurt, Dijon, and remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh dill. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
Shave asparagus spears lengthwise into long thin strips, discarding tough ends. Place in bowl and drizzle with a splash of oil. Scatter sautéed onions overtop mozzarella on pizza dough, leaving 1/2 in (1.25 cm) border. Pile asparagus strips evenly overtop. Bake pizza in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust edges are deep golden and asparagus is lightly charred. Remove and transfer pizza to wooden serving board. Arrange smoked salmon strips in twists on top and scatter with watercress. Dollop with yogurt and lightly season with additional black pepper, if you wish. Cut into wedges and splash with a little olive oil and lemon juice, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with additional sprigs of fresh dill. Tip: Make your own pizza dough in a flash, or purchase gluten-free flatbread and bake with toppings in oven only until piping hot. Substitute watercress with microgreens or pea shoots. Vegan option: Use dairy-free cheese ingredients and make shaved carrot lox to replace the smoked salmon.
Make no mistake, meaty grilled tofu, sweet flame-licked salsa, and chunks of crispy sweet potato make for a meal prepared in the great outdoors that puts the yum in plant-based eating. A master’s touch Perfect spuds: Crispy potatoes on the grill are a revelation. But it’s best to give them a head start on the stovetop, so the potatoes heat through before the exteriors grill to a burnt crisp. Flavourful tofu: Giving tofu a 90-degree turn on the grill halfway through cooking each side will produce a nice crosshatch pattern that makes you look like a grill master. Plus, those overlapping grill marks give tofu even better flavour.
Combine pizza and taco night by firing up the grill. Sweet flame-licked onions, melty cheese, fiery salsa, hearty beans, and crispy flatbread crust all marry well in a no-fuss pizza that comes together fast enough to work within the confines of the weekday time crunch. Set up a work area near the grill so you have all your toppings within easy reach and ready to go. You can also use large Middle Eastern-style pitas for your base. Using store-bought pizza dough? If you want to go more traditional and use pizza dough, you can certainly stick with the grill. Stretch or roll pizza dough (about 1 lb/450 g) to roughly 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick. It need not be perfectly round or square; it just has to be even thickness. Preheat grill to medium using indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one burner off; for a charcoal grill, shovel coals onto one side of the grill) and lightly oil grill grates. Brush one side of dough with oil, then place on grill in an area not directly over the heat, oil side down. Once dough is lightly charred and just barely set, about 1 to 2 minutes, use pizza peel or big, flat spatula to transfer it to a work surface, grilled side up. Apply toppings and return pizza to indirect heat. Close grill lid, and heat until edges of crust are crispy and cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
If a falafel and burger had a love child, this would be it. The result of this hybrid is a vibrantly coloured, complex-flavoured veggie burger you’ll flip over. You can also serve them between toasted hamburger buns with toppings such as sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and arugula. Holding it together Many plant-based burgers are crumbly and weak, risking a patty that ends up between the grill grates instead of intact on your plate. Keep your burgers together by forming patties no larger than 1 in (2.5 cm) thick, which ensures a nice, even crust on the outside and a thoroughly warmed-through centre, then chilling the patties before grilling. You can also consider using a burger mould, which gives you denser, equally sized patties that cook evenly. Be sure your grill grates are well greased. Deep freeze You can freeze uncooked falafel burgers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or plate and then transfer frozen patties to an airtight container. When ready, just thaw and cook as instructed. Falafel cooking options To bake: Arrange falafel on parchment-lined baking sheet and brush lightly with oil; bake at 375 F (190 C) for 25 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and heated through. To pan fry: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil (15 mL) for each 2 burgers in the pan, swirl to coat pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until underside is browned. Then flip carefully and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Bet you’ve never considered making breakfast or Sunday brunch on the grill. Consider cooking your egg-soaked bread over flames as a way to coax even more flavour out of brag-worthy French toast. You can also use slices of brioche bread and whatever fruit happens to be in season. Of course, nobody could fault you for topping it all off with a drizzle of maple syrup. If you want it dairy free, you can use dairy alternatives such as oat milk and coconut yogurt. Not so fresh Somewhat stale bread is key to great French toast. You want it to be 2 to 3 days old. What if your bread isn’t aged enough? You can speed up the process by slicing bread and then placing it on a pan in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 10 minutes, or until it firms up. Make sure it’s sliced nice and thick to prevent the egg mixture-to-bread ratio being too heavy in favour of egg, resulting in soggy French toast.