No intro today, this is serious business. Today it’s all about pizza.
Add greens to pizza after cooking but before serving. My very favourite pizza is fungi e spinaci — mushroom and spinach. It’s my go-to topping combination when trying out a new pizza place. If they can get the spinach right, they’re OK. If they get it wrong, it’s a sure sign we’ll never go back. There’s a bit of a trick to adding spinach to a pizza, because if you add it too early the leaves will crisp, while if you add it too late you’ll just have a giant pile of salad on your pizza. For me, it needs to be just wilted so it keeps both its colour and flavour, and so it doesn’t lose so much water that it makes the rest of the pizza soggy.
To this end, the best time to do it is as soon as the pizza is ready. Take the pizza out of the oven, throw on the spinach and immediately return the pizza to the top shelf with the heat turned off. Keeping the heat off is important, as the oven will still be warm enough to wilt the spinach and keep the pizza hot without reducing the crusts to a charred ring. Leave it with the door closed for about 90 seconds. The spinach will still be a tiny bit underwilted when you remove it, but will be perfect by the time it reaches your mouth. Promise.
Timing harvest with immediate use. If you’re topping your pizza with spinach (or rocket or any other delicate salad) of your own growing, be sure to harvest it as near the time you’re going to use it as possible. I usually run out and start snipping after the pizza’s already in the oven, so I can get it washed and give it a bit of an air dry before it becomes topping.
I know this seems like common sense, to keep it fresh-fresh, but whenever I’m trying to be super-organised about things, this is the thing I screw up. I’ll pick it too early and inevitably either leave it out on the counter (bad girl!) where it fades or in a bowl of water (even worse!) where it bloats. Unlike almost everything else in life, it’s better to be a bit last-minute with spinach harvesting than wind up with a droopy bundle of sad leaves.