Green Fist of Fury [Radish Pizza with Lemon-Anchovy Relish & Greens]

I’ve never been much of a gardener. My green thumb is more of a green fist of fury that wipes out anything that comes into contact with it. Ferns, flowers, vegetables, or otherwise. Once they’ve entered through my front door, their fate is set. I water too much. I water too little. I love too hard. And ultimately, they end up sagging, sickly and void of life. For shame.

With the sun rising bright on Friday morning, I found myself feeling hopeful. Feeling assured that this was the summer that I would plant something that would grow. Something I could plant from a seed, nurture and love. Something I could pull from the ground, eat and finally understand what it’s like to grow my own food. A skill I find often find myself feeling envious of.

With hope on my side, I strode confidently into the Home Hardware and picked up a bunch of seeds, soil and pots. Before 1pm had hit, I had planted seed upon seed, making sure to do so lovingly so as not to upset the horticulture Gods, and said a little ‘please oh please just let one of them sprout, grow and mature!”. With any luck, sometime in late July or early August, I will have bushels and bushels (maybe one plateful?) of cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, 5 varieties of tomatoes, spinach, sweet basil, wild flowers, green onions, and, my golden ticket, radishes.

I call them my golden ticket because radishes take 3-4 weeks to mature from seed to harvest. Instant gratification is something I am very fond of. Especially since I find myself staring at all the little pots, wondering when something will peek through the soil. Of course, it’s a futile effort. And a little pathetic on my part. The funny thing about my radish excitement is that as of Friday, I wasn’t ever sure if I liked radishes. They’re one of those vegetables that I’ve tried time and time again, but are never really memorable. Forgettable, mostly. With all this in mind, I figured if I was 3-4 weeks away from pulling the pinkish oblong orbs from the soil as my first real gardening success, I had better figure out if I liked them or not.

Because everything tastes better on a disc of thin, crunchy dough, I decided to add the peppery little bulbs to a pizza. Add to that a little anchovy-lemon relish, radish greens and some sharp, nutty Parmesan and I think it’s pretty safe to say, that no matter how many radishes my garden might throw at me, I will find a use for them. Especially if it means making, and better, eating more of this pizza!

Radish Pizza with Anchovy-Lemon Relish and Greens
makes two medium pizzas

Anchovies can usually been purchased packed in oil or salt in or around the seafood section. In this case, I used fillets packed in oil since I wanted to make use of the oil. 

I wasn’t especially fond of the dough I tried out for this, so use your favourite dough recipe.

1 lb favourite pizza dough

Toppings
Zest from two lemons
5-6 anchovy fillets
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (1 tsp if you prefer less heat)
2 bunches radishes, cleaned and sliced thin
2 bunches radish greens, cleaned and dried
Anchovy oil from tin
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups Parmesan

Place a pizza stone into the oven and sprinkle with cornmeal. Preheat oven to 450.
Add the lemon zest, fillets, and red pepper flakes to a mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse paste. Set aside.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out the dough. One at a time, assemble the pizza on a cutting board sprinkled with cornmeal (this makes it easy to move the pizza from board to oven). Top each pizza with half the anchovy-lemon relish, half the radishes, half the greens and half the Parmesan. Bake each pizza, one at a time, until crust is deep golden and cheese is melted, about 6-7 minutes.

I served with some green olives on the side, which was lovely, but a cold beer or iced tea will do just fine.

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