With Earth Day approaching (it’s this Sunday, the 22nd), I racked my brain for a recipe to share with you guys that felt, well, green. That emphasized saving the planet, or at least eating local.
It took me a few minutes before I felt as dumb as I deserved to for approaching Earth Day totally wrong. Environmental stances are the kinds of beliefs that all of us have to arrive at on our own, like viewpoints on eating meat or strategies for staying healthy. Preachiness just kind of sucks.
A friend once bragged to me that she never used paper towels–if she bought a roll, it languished in her apartment for months, and when she finally finished it, she could go months without buying a new one. But I love paper towels. Nothing beats them for patting meat dray before you brown it, or for wiping your mouth when you’ve just taken a greasy bite of bacon and eggs and don’t want to soil a cloth napkin you know you won’t have time to wash before three Tuesdays from now. In other words, guilt also sucks. The world’s so big and complicated, and we all have our own way of being conservationists. So if my love affair with paper towels is “bad,” well, know that I ride the New York City subway every single day of my life instead of driving a gas guzzler – I think that qualifies as “good.” But let’s not keep score.
I tossed the preachiness out and decided to approach Earth Day with the mentality of the fourth grader I was in 1995 when Earth Day’s popularity was mounting and my class banded together to create a floor-to-ceiling collage of the rainforest. We took a photograph of the collage and printed a poster from the image. The poster still hangs at my mom’s house, and it still looks good.
Once I had interpreted green-ness literally, the pizza’s ingredients came together: a “sauce” of rich wilted scallions adapted from this recipe, a coating of Parmesan, a handful of roasted green vegetables, and arugula, which I let wilt in the oven.
Lily liked the pizza, as did I.
Do you do anything for Earth Day?
Scallion & Arugula Parmesan Pizza
You can make the scallions and roasted zucchini and broccoli in advance if you like.
1/2 recipe pizza dough
2 bunches scallions, trimmed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small head broccoli (to yield about 2 cups of spears)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
2 big handfuls arugula
Divide the pizza dough into two even balls. Stretch them out into rectangular-ish shapes and place them on an oiled piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cover them with plastic wrap while you prepare the toppings.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Trim the scallions–just the roots and the top inch or two of the greens–then cut them into 2-inch pieces. Place them in the baking dish and toss so they are coated with olive oil. Press down to get them in a single layer as much as possible.
Pour 1/4 cup of water over the scallions and sprinkle with salt. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, until the scallions smell sweet and oniony and look wilted.
Remove the foil and turn the heat up to 425°F. Roast the scallions for about 10 minutes, or until all the water is gone from the pan and the scallions are just slightly golden in parts. Sprinkle the lemon juice on top, and taste for salt, adding more as needed.
Turn the oven down to 400°F. Toss the broccoli spears with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and a big pinch of salt and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, until tender inside and golden and crispy outside.
As soon as the broccoli is in the oven, toss the zucchini with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt, then spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until golden and tender.
Return the oven to 425°F.
Divide the scallions between the two rectangles of pizza dough, covering all but about 1/2 an inch around the edge. Top with about 1/4 cup of Parmesan each.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and divide most of the broccoli and zucchini between the two pizzas. Sprinkle with most of the remaining Parm and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove once more, top each pizza with the arugula, sprinkle with salt, and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the arugula has just wilted. Top with the remaining Parm and serve.