Spring grilling: farmers market pizza

Don't expect to see a lot of produce if you head to a Minnesota farmers market when spring is just budding (Unless you frequent one of those markets where vendors sell Hawaiian pineapples and South American bananas. Local? Not much.). The season and its goods trickle in to the market, and each week's discoveries make us even more excited for our next visit.

In St. Paul on Saturday we found plenty to get us through the week and the chilly weather kept lines short. Most of my favorites were there, including Love Tree Farmstead with their heady cheeses, Prairie Pride with their apple-cinnamon bacon, Bob Otis and his pasture-raised meats, and Farm on Wheels where the farmers are so knowledgeable and friendly that I always learn something when I visit their stand. Todd the trout guy was missing but I am hopeful he'll return soon.

As farmers market season arrives, so too begins grilling. Armed with a lovely ball of herbed sheep cheese and a beautiful organic grassfed steak, I prepared our first grilled pizza of 2014. With fresh local ingredients it is easy to make something lovely for dinner.

Grilled Steak Pizza
Dough for one pizza, rolled very thin
2 to 4 ounces Love Tree Farmstead herb sheep cheese (or whatever herbed chèvre is available in your area)
2 cups salad greens
1/2 cup quick pickled vegetables (carrots, daikon, cucumber, onion)
4 ounces grilled steak, sliced thin
Olive oil and pickling brine to dress

Grill pizza over direct heat until marks appear and pizza just begins to char. Remove pizza from grill, flip, and dot cooked side with cheese. Return crust to grill and cook over direct heat until marks appear; move pizza to indirect heat and cover grill. Cook until cheese is melted enough to be spreadable. Remove pizza from grill.

Spread cheese evenly over crust with a spatula. Toss salad greens with pickled vegetables; place over cheese. Top with steak and dress with oil and pickling brine. Finish with salt and pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired.


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