As promised on my last post, I’m sharing the first of a few recipes inspired by our visit to Pescadero last week. Besides enjoying the marsh and the beach that day, one other highlight of the visit was being able to take home some local food and produce. When I picked up lunch at Norm’s Market, I couldn’t resist also buying a bag of baby artichokes that were showcased in wooden boxes at the entrance. Loads of teeny artichokes offered at 20 for $5. I had no idea what their fate would be as I plucked the best specimens out of the boxes but I knew I’d figure something out. They were too pretty to ignore, wouldn’t you agree?
Serendipity dictated the following night’s dinner. I had been craving pizza for some time so I brought home a bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough earlier in the week (since discovering their dough, I’ve stopped making my own). I had pizza Margherita in mind when I placed the bag in my basket but looking at the contents of my refrigerator and my souvenirs from Pescadero, this version happened instead. I sautéed the baby artichokes and the chicken-artichoke sausage (made at Norm’s Market) with garlic (this alone would have been a wonderful meal in itself) and combined them with pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions and fresh tarragon. All the components complemented each other so well. If you haven’t used tarragon much, I highly recommend it in this recipe. Its mild licorice quality brought out the fennel in the sausage. Don’t be afraid to use it, it won’t overpower the sausage and the artichokes but you’ll know it’s there.
My husband doesn’t actively seek out pizza, especially for his main meal of the day. I prepared this individual-size pizza thinking that I would be the only one eating it and had another dish planned for him. After having a taste, I offered him a bite and that bite turned into him eating 3/4 of the pizza. I made a second one using the remaining 2/3 of the dough (pictured below), resulting in a thicker crust.
If you are looking for artichoke inspiration, I encourage you to try this recipe. I’ll also be sharing at least two more soon–my husband has picked up another bag of the baby artichokes; we can’t get enough of them lately!
* I would like to note that instead of baking the pizza on a pizza stone like I normally do, I baked it in a cast iron skillet this time with very good results. The skillet was already hot from sautéing the artichokes and sausage and I think that helped to achieve a perfectly thin and crisp crust–just the way I like it!
- (This is for one personal pizza, about 8 inches in diameter–easily adjustable to make more pizzas or 1 large one.)
- ¼ lb chicken sausage (1 link would be good; I used chicken-artichoke sausage)
- 3 baby artichokes, outer leaves removed and quartered then soaked in bowl of lemon water to prevent oxidation (if you use frozen or jarred artichokes, you don’t need to soak in lemon water)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
- Few slices mozzarella cheese
- Pizza dough, I use Trader Joe’s (see note)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- A few fresh tarragon leaves
- Few slices red onion, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Juice of one lemon combine in a bowl of water (for soaking the cut up artichokes)
- Preheat your oven to 450℉.
- Prepare your pizza dough and roll out to about 8 inches in diameter. If you’re using Trader Joe’s prepared dough like I’ve done here, let the dough rest on a lightly-floured surface for about 20 minutes before using. Divide into three then roll out to about 8 inches.
- To prepare the artichokes and sausage, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in (preferably) a cast iron skillet. Slide the sausage out of its casing in pieces and into the pan. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the meat looks cooked on the outside. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds then drain the artichoke pieces that have been soaking in the bowl of lemon water and add to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and sauté for 4- 5 minutes. You can cover the pan to speed up the cooking process. Transfer the cooked artichokes and sausage to a bowl and set aside.
- To assemble and bake the pizza: You can use a pizza stone to bake your pizza but for this recipe I used the same cast iron skillet that I sautéed the artichokes and sausage in. Don’t even bother rinsing it first. Transfer the rolled out dough into the pan and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil followed by the pesto sauce. (Tip: I like to prick the surface of the dough so it doesn’t puff up while baking.) Add a single layer of mozzarella cheese then arrange the artichokes and sausage on top followed by the red onion slices. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden. This will produce a thin, crisp crust. Top with fresh tarragon leaves. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and slice into wedges or serve whole.