Top Chef Chicago was our favorite season yet (OK, we're a little biased here in the Windy City). In fact, even one of the losing dishes inspired us.
Remember episode 7, the Second City improv challenge? Stephanie and Jennifer's interpretation of "turned on, orange, asparagus" sent Jennifer home, but we haven't been able to get the flavors out of our head.
(Warning: the winner is revealed below)
Stephanie, of course, went on to win last night (yay!). Obviously she and Jennifer were on to something tasty, but the execution fell short in the frenzy of reality TV.
With a shorter list of ingredients, unlimited time and no career-at-stake pressure, we came up with a pizza inspired by their dish. And while it won't win us $100,000 or a new car, it's still pretty tasty.
We baked the crust by itself until it was nearly done, then added the remaining ingredients and put it back in the oven for 2 minutes. That way, the goat cheese doesn't dry out.
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Orange Pizza
makes 2 pizzas
1 lb. asparagus, washed, trimmed into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 batch of Homemade Thin Crust Pizza (or 1 package of prepared dough)
walnut oil (optional)
Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar, for drizzling
Pre-heat oven to 500. Bake dough alone, removing before the final 2-3 minutes of baking.
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Toss asparagus with a little olive oil and grill until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place goat cheese in a small bowl and add a splash of milk. Mix until combined, adding a little more milk as necessary – just enough to make it spreadable. Add orange zest and a dash of salt.
Spread goat cheese mixture onto par-baked crusts and top with asparagus and hazelnuts. Brush crust with walnut oil, if desired. Bake for another 2-3 minutes. Drizzle with Orange Muscat Vinegar before serving.
(Images: Joanna Miller)