Lemon, Asparagus and Gruyère Pizza

A former film student, pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner went on to work in the kitchens of San Francisco's Masa's amd Rubicon. She named her bakery-café Citizen Cake as a tribute to the Orson Welles classic. As an alternate take on the pizza topping below, Falkner suggests using tangerine sections, pitted Calamata olives, sliced red onions and goat cheese.Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips

4 12-inch pizzas


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading and rolling

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 pound medium asparagus, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese, (1/2 pound)

  • 2 small lemons, preferably Meyer, sliced paper-thin

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour until blended, then cover with a kitchen towel and let the sponge stand at room temperature until bubbly, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  2. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the sponge in the bowl. Add the pure olive oil and the sea salt and stir until almost combined. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until smooth and silky, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Let the dough return to room temperature. Punch it down and form it into 4 balls. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

  4. In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus just until bright green, about 20 seconds. Drain and refresh the asparagus under cold water. Pat dry.

  5. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°ork with 1 piece of the pizza dough at a time and keep the rest covered. On a lightly floured work surface, roll or stretch the dough out to a 12-inch round. Transfer the round to a lightly floured pizza peel or cookie sheet. Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon of the extra-virgin olive oil and top with 1/2 cup of the Gruyère and one-fourth of the asparagus and lemon slices. Sprinkle the pizza with kosher salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan.

  6. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated for up to 1 day.


If serving 4 pizzas at once, the first 3 can be reheated directly on the oven racks while the last one bakes.

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