Grilled Pizza, That’s Amore!


The open flame gives the crust a crunch and heft that is downright heavenly, and the smoky flavor complements just about every topping you can imagine.

In my ongoing quest to avoid using my oven for long spells in the summer heat, I rely heavily on the grill.
Typically, this means meat — which is fine a few times a week, but a steady diet of animal protein is not healthy, economical or environmentally responsible. So I seek alternative meals while still cooking outdoors.
My latest discovery is grilled pizza, and it is a corker.
The open flame gives the crust a crunch and heft that is downright heavenly, and the smoky flavor complements just about every topping you can imagine. The following dough recipe makes two smallish pizzas, which is ideal for a light summer supper for four with salad or as an appetizer for a larger group.
The best way to deal with the toppings is to finish them in the oven. That violates my “no oven in the summer” plan, but it avoids the risk of singed fingers in an attempt to top the pizzas on the grill. It also ensures that all of the pizzas are done at the same time and heated uniformly.
The amount of time required to melt the cheese or heat the toppings in the oven is minimal, so you won’t swelter. And if you are doubling or tripling the dough for a larger crowd, you will need the grill space for multiple crusts, making the oven necessary.
Here’s the method:
1 envelope yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your hands when kneading dough
2 tablespoons oil, plus more for greasing bowl, crusts and trays
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. Add the salt and sugar and stir.
Gradually add the flour and oil, and mix with a dough hook or by hand until blended. Flour your hands and knead the dough briefly to ensure that it is completely blended.
Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough in it, rolling it around to coat it lightly with oil. Cover it with a clean dish towel, and leave it for an hour.
When the dough rises, punch it down. Note that you can use the dough at this point, or repeat the rise-and-punch sequence throughout the day.
To make the pizza:
Spray or brush two cooking trays with oil. Heat a grill to medium-high.
Flour your hands and divide the dough into two portions. Stretch the dough into thin crusts of your desired shape. Place them on greased trays and brush the top with oil.
Using a large spatula and tongs, slide the dough onto the grill and cover. Leave it for three minutes and check; if the bottom is crisp, flip it. If not, cover it and give it another minute.
Repeat this step with the other side of the crust and, when done, remove it from the heat. Top as desired (see suggestions below) and place it in a 350-degree oven on a cooking tray until the toppings are heated. Cut and enjoy.
Caprese Pizza
1 ripe tomato, sliced thinly
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
Place tomato slices on the crust, top it with cheese and sprinkle with basil, pepper and salt.
Fig Pizza
½ onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 dried figs, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup water
4 oz. goat cheese
In a small skillet, caramelize the onions in olive oil by sautéing over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Add the figs, balsamic vinegar, honey and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture resembles a chunky jam.
Spread the fig jam over the crust and crumble the goat cheese over the top.
Other good combos:
Pesto Pizza
½ cup your favorite pesto
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Greek Pizza
½ cup good quality tomato sauce
¾ cup cooked spinach
¼ cup pitted olives
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
Broccoli Rabe Pizza
¾ cup cooked broccoli rabe, or other robust green, coarsely chopped
¾ cup smoked mozzarella cheese



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