pizza with leeks, brussels sprouts, and speck

I don’t have a photo of the finished product, because we ate it all.

speck, brussels sprout, and leek pizza

This pizza was born out of a trip to California that D and I took over the summer. We spent a couple of days in San Francisco with good friends (who are getting married oh-so-soon!) and dragged them to a farmer’s market, determined to prove to them that cooking was easy. What we proved, instead, was that our eyes and intentions were bigger than our stomachs, as we lugged several onions, tomatoes, avocados, tortillas, fish, shrimp, and assorted foodstuffs back to their apartment.

When D and I left the next morning for Humboldt Redwoods State Park, we took some of the leftover veggies with us, including several strips of bacon, a bag of Brussels sprouts, and a tiny wedge of parmesan cheese. We rode for several hours along a beach so foggy we could barely see around the sharp curves. We stopped several times for coffee to warm our chilled bones. We joked about how cold and wet we were, about what an odyssey we were on. I listened to a Harry Potter book in my helmet while D made sure we didn’t drive off the cliffs and into the ocean. That night, freezing from rain and armed with a small bottle of liquor, we made pasta with bacon, Brussels sprouts, and parmesan on the little camping stove in our tent. We ate it straight out of the pan, snuggled close and giggling with exhaustion and accomplishment.

Brussels sprout and bacon pasta


{ brussels sprout and bacon pasta, made in a tent and eaten from the skillet }

We still had sprouts left over, so the next night we used them with the last of the bacon and some smoked salmon to make an even more delicious version of the same pasta. I think once we even splashed a little beer into the pan to deglaze and make a simple brown sauce. The smoked salmon was an inspired touch, and had we not eaten it all, I feel it would have made an interesting addition to this pizza. We used the rest of the smoked salmon the next day, on bagels with cream cheese, but it really shined with the Brussels sprouts.

When we got home, we had a small love affair with Brussels sprouts. Although they were woefully our of season, we bought bag after netted bag of them. We deep-fried them and dipped them in a soy reduction. We roasted them and tossed them with garlic and olive oil. And we put them on pizza nearly every night. Now that Brussels sprout season is almost upon us– we put our little sprouting sprout plants in the ground only this weekend– it feels like the time to share this pizza with you.

leek, brussels sprout, and speck pizza, uncooked

Pizza with Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, and Speck
Note: I’ve discovered a secret. I can get a super-thin pizza crust, perfect for serving two people, by making a standard “This will make two pizzas” pizza crust recipe, dividing it into 4 after it rises, and rolling it out really thin. Try it!

You will need:
1 pizza crust (or 1/2 pizza crust, if you want a crispier crust)
6 oz. shredded mozzarella
Brussels sprouts, chopped/ shaved with a mandoline/ sliced thin
1 leek, sliced thin
3 oz. speck or prosciutto
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

I got the best results when I softened the vegetables a little first, but feel free to put them on the pizza raw.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roll out pizza onto your pizza pan, cookie sheet, or sheet pan. I always use an old 13 x 9 cookie sheet.

Meanwhile, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and leeks, and cook until just tender.

Spread pizza crust with olive oil, and salt lightly. Spread cheese in an even layer. Add Brussels sprouts and leeks. Drape speck over the pizza (it will crisp as the pizza cooks, and then be divine). Cook for about 15 minutes, or until speck is crispy, crust is golden, and veggies are caramelized. Serve immediately.


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