Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grilling Pizza 101 & Red, White & Green Pizza


Grilling pizzas might be my new favorite obsession! (I feel like I say that about everything!)

It can seem a little intimidating, but seriously, it's almost fool-proof!  This can easily be turned into a quick weeknight meal, or even a fun party with tons of different pizzas.  I think we might do these again with individual sized pizzas, and let the kids make their own (toppings---not going to send them out to the grill).  This would be a really fun, casual, easy summer dinner with friends!




 Most important is the pizza dough---I've found that I don't like certain pizza doughs grilled.  They can be too doughy, or too puffy, or just to dense.  This recipe is hands-down my favorite pizza dough (not just for grilling, but for baking in the oven as well!)  It does require a bit of "thinking ahead", but not a ton.  You can use it right after you make it, but for best flavor, I suggest the fridge time---trust me, you won't be sorry!

Fridge Pizza Dough

  • 3 c. all purpose flour**
  • 2 tsp. yeast (active dry or instant)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 7/8 to 1 1/8 c. lukewarm water
  1. If you are using active dry yeast (I do in most recipes, unless instant is required), dissolve it, with a pinch of sugar, in 2 Tablespoons of the lukewarm water.  (I do this in the mixing bowl I am going to be using.)  Let the yeast and water sit together for about 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded.  (If you are using instant yeast, skip this step.)
  2. Add in (with the yeast) the remainder of the ingredients.  Mix everything together until you've made a soft dough.  I use my stand mixer, with a dough hook, and let it knead (speed 2) for about 5 minutes.  The dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, maybe sticking at the bottom.  Don't overknead the dough; it should hold together, but might look a little rough on the surface.
    **FLOUR: The amount of flour can depend on the humidity, how it was stored, etc.  so don't always go by measurements, instead by how your dough looks and feels. 
  3. To make pizza now: Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise until it is very puffy.  This will take about 1 hour using instant yeast, or about 1 1/2 hours using active dry yeast.  It might take longer, just give it the time it needs.  Then proceed with baking.
  4. To make pizza later:  Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes at room temperature.  Refrigerate the dough for 4 hours (or for up to 24 hours); it will rise slowly as it chills.  This step develops the crust's flavor.  About 2 hours before you want to serve the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator.  ***THIS IS THE WAY I PREFER TO DO IT!
  5. Roll your pizza out on a floured surface (or on a dough board).  This recipe makes 2 pizzas.  When I'm making it on the grill, specifically, I don't care about the shape as much as the thickness.  I want it about 1/2-3/4" thick.
TO GRILL THE PIZZA:
  • Preheat your grill to a medium heat.
  •  Brush olive oil on ONE side of your pizza.  Place the oiled side of your pizza down on the grill.
Sorry for the bad picture, my shadow killed it.  Lay your dough directly on the grill, with the oil side down, like this.
  • Close the cover of your grill.  The amount of time this step takes varies, depending on your grill, how fast it cooks, etc.  Probably no more than 4 or 5 minutes.  Stay close, and check as necessary.  However, don't continue to open the lid over and over, or you will loose the heat and the steam necessary. 
  • Once your pizza dough as PUFFED it is ready.  At this point, I remove the pizza from the grill.  I use my pizza peel, and take it off the grill. 

This is what it will look like when it is ready to be taken off the grill.  It isn't done at this point, but now we'll add the toppings to the other side.

  • Flip the crust over so that the puffy side is now on the bottom of your pizza peel (or tray, whatever you are using). 

This is what the bottom of mine looked like---PERFECTION!
  • Now you are going to add whatever toppings, sauces, etc. that you want to your pizza. 
  • Using your pizza peel (or tray, pan, etc.) slide the pizza back onto the grill---no need to oil or anything.  You are going to be putting the puffy side onto the heat.  Close the lid and cook until the cheese is melted and the toppings are cooked.  This should take about 4 -5 minutes depending on your grill.

To make the pizza I made, here are the directions:

Red, White & Green Pizza
  • tomatoes (roma)
  • fresh mozzarella
  • pesto
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • fresh basil
  • salt
  1. Slice your tomatoes pretty thin.  In a wide shallow bowl, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil with a few tablespoons of crushed garlic cloves.  Add your sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with salt.  Let this marinate for about 20 minutes while you are working on the pizza dough.
  2. Once you are ready to top your pizza, spread a thin layer of pesto over the crust of the pizza.  Top with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Then, lay the marinated tomato slices on top.  At this point, I usually drizzle a little bit of the garlic flavored oil over the top of the pizza.  Not a lot, just a little drizzle.
  3. Cook the pizza until it is cooked through.  Top with freshly chopped basil.
**This is a slight play on my favorite Margherita pizza---just the addition of the pesto. 


Another great grill treat: With the leftover pizza dough, if you have any.  Grill it up, and when it is done, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.  In a small bowl, mix together a splash of milk with powdered sugar.  Cut the pizza into strips, and dip into the frosting. 

We did this last week, and the kids loved it!!