Dates pair perfectly with asparagus in this pizza. Spread with a ricotta cheese mixed with preserved lemon and garnished with fresh parsley, this Date and Asparagus pizza is ideal for a fun get together with friends.
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A few years ago, my hubby and I had some dear friends over for some food fun and games. My friend loves food just like I do and we often go out to fun restaurants to experience new dishes. Since I knew they were coming over, I had to pull out all the stops with the snacks we were going to have. I honestly don’t remember at all I had made for them but they very much loved everything I made.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was doing a LIVE Facebook cooking video and had asked for suggestions as to what the viewers wanted to watch me make live. Well, my culinarian friend chimed in and requested that I recreate one of her favorite things I had made for them a while back. She wanted me to make this amazing Date and asparagus pizza with a preserved lemon ricotta spread!
Let’s Talk About Dates
I hadn’t really been exposed to dates at all growing up, in fact, I thought they were weird. However, I finally grew up and tried them. WOW! They are so fantastic. They are wonderfully sweet naturally and are chewy and delicious. They are so amazing in on this pizza because it just transports you into a whole new world of flavor that you aren’t expecting.
If you haven’t tried dates before, this needs to be the first recipe to try!
Are Dates and Prunes the Same?
Nope. Not at all.
Prunes are the dried form of plums, which are stone fruits found during the summer months.
Dates are fruit found on the Giant Date Palm. They mostly grow in the middle east because of the hot and arid climate, but they can also be found in the deserts of California and Arizona.
Are Dates High In Sugar
Absolutely. In their fresh form, they contain as much as 55% sugar and that amount increases as their dried. They’re often used as sugar substitutes in a lot of health-conscious recipes.
How Are Dates Pitted
I’m not quite sure how it’s done in the big processing plants for date farms. However, if you happen to buy dates that come with the pits still in them, you can just simply cut a slit into the date, expose the pit and remove it.
For this recipe, I like to slice my dates up so that they spread more evenly across the pizza.
Let’s Talk About Asparagus
This isn’t my only recipe with asparagus in it. In fact, I have another pizza recipe that uses asparagus in a whole other way.
Yet, I think I failed to talk about asparagus in depth in that recipe… so let’s do it now!
What Season Does Asparagus Come?
Asparagus is a gorgeous vegetable that can be found in the months of April through June. In fact, in Germany, they hold a huge festival to celebrate asparagus called Spargelfest. You can even look this up, I’m not even joking. In those festivals, you get to find asparagus prepared in many ways and it’s a whole big thing.
I won’t buy asparagus any other time of the year because 1) they’re too expensive and 2) the stalks get smaller and smaller when they’re not in season. Call me spoiled but I love thick asparagus stalks that don’t cost me an arm and a leg.
How to Store Asparagus
Since asparagus is really only good for a short time of the year, it would be a shame to buy some and then let it go bad when they weren’t properly stored.
The best way to store asparagus is standing up in a cup of water. This helps the asparagus stalks to stay firm before you use them!
How to Prepare Asparagus
The asparagus is fantastic on this pizza. You wouldn’t want to ruin with woody ends that are super hard to chew and are fibrous.
To properly trim asparagus, hold each spear by both hands with your fingers and snap in half; wherever the asparagus snaps, that’s where the tender part ends. Do this to all the asparagus and you’ll have perfect spears each time!
How to Make Date and Asparagus Pizza
I had to think long and hard to remember if I could think of the details about this pizza, so I could recreate it since it had been a while. Here is what I remember:
- Preserved Lemon
- Garlic in oil (it’s a standard for me)
I love, love, love, LOVE this asparagus pizza because the flavors are so amazing! It’s savory while being sweet at the same time. It’s really a fun pizza to eat.
Preserved Lemon Ricotta Spread for Date and Asparagus Pizza
When I had first made this pizza, I had used preserved lemon rind in the ricotta mix. If you have never tried preserved lemons, you need to give them a try! This is the recipe I like to use whenever I make mine at home. If you don’t feel like waiting a whole month before the lemons are done, you can buy them online.
However, I have also made this pizza with lemon zest and it works fine. Though… there is something about preserved lemons that is just much tastier than lemon zest.
I like making this ricotta mix using a creamy homemade ricotta recipe that is super easy to make!
Putting the Date and Asparagus Pizza Together
I love to spread garlic and oil on the bottom just to give a nice kick of flavor that makes this asparagus pizza taste oh so much better! I have other great tips on making your own pizza at home with this post.
I spread out a ricotta cheese mixture that had a good lemony flavor, thanks to the preserved lemon, that it gave a hint of cheesiness but didn’t overwhelm the beautiful and simple flavors of the rest of the pizza.
When making this pizza, I’ve used both raw and roasted asparagus and you can go either way with it. I love roasted asparagus and the texture they have but raw asparagus cooks perfectly on the pizza as well.
Before throwing the pizza into the oven, spread the dates all over the top. With an oven set at 450 degrees, this pizza is perfect in 13 minutes. Then I just garnish with some fresh parsley leaves and bon appetit!
I hope that you enjoy this fun date and asparagus pizza! It’s easily become a family favorite over the years. If you have especially loved this pizza, be sure to tell me all about it down in the comments below.
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- 1 batch pizza dough
- ½ bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
- 1/3 cup dates, sliced in 1/2” slices
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- ½ cup ricotta
- 2 each preserved lemons, rind only
- To taste salt and pepper
- Cut asparagus into bite sized pieces and slice pitted dates. Preheat oven to 450 degrees placing a sheet tray in oven or a pizza stone ready to heat up.
- Mix together garlic and oil in a small bowl, set aside.
- On a cornmeal covered surface, pat out pizza dough to desired shape, making sure that the whole surface is an even thickness. Spread garlic and oil on top with a pastry brush or teaspoon.
- In a small bowl, mix together ricotta and lemon zest until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on top of garlic dough, making sure to leave a small margin all around the pizza.
- Top pizza with asparagus and dates evenly.
- Place pizza on top of sheet pan or pizza stone and let cook until crust is fully cooked, about 13 minutes. Remove from oven, cut and garnish with grated parmesan and fresh parsley.
Notes: I highly recommend making your own pizza dough at home. This is the one I love and others rave about.
Amount Per ServingCalories 362Saturated Fat 3gCholesterol 15mgSodium 733mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 2gSugar 13gProtein 11g