Friday, September 28, 2012

Grilled Pizza

Grilled pizza is one of those things that you hear about, but have never tried. When you really think about it, making a pizza on the grill makes sense. It simulates a brick oven and let's face it...brick oven pizzas ROCK!! So a fast, super easy way to recreate a Brick oven pizza? Here it is. Say good-bye to take out and frozen pizza. This is how its done...

 First... the sauce. I like to make these first because while the dough is rising and cooking all the flavors in my sauce can come together.
Sauce one...
3-4 Grilled Roma tomatoes. (you can grill these with your vegetables. They do take a little longer. You want them GRILLED... Charred a little, but not where the skin isn't mostly intact any longer.)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt to taste
Combine cooked tomatoes and all other ingredients in a bowl. Mash them all together. Add the salt a little at a time tasting and adjusting to your taste. Next.. well, you are done! Easy right? The great thing about this sauce is it is really REALLY light. I like it with a vegetable pizza or even just loaded on a pizza by itself with some mozzarella. Mmmmm.

Sauce two...
1 8-12 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 Table spoon minced garlic
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Combine tomato sauce, paste, basil, and garlic together in a bowl. Keep stirring until it becomes all one thickness. Next start adding your spices a little at a time until it satisfies your taste. I like to add about 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes... but I like my sauce ZESTY! This sauce is great because it is just like your traditional pizza sauce.

Now... The dough (taken from Smitten Kitchen). This will make two medium-sized pizzas.
3 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
2 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Stir in the olive oil and luke warm water. Begin stirring until mixture begins to come together. Dump everything in the bowl on a lightly floured surface. Begin kneading (all those small little dough and flour bits will begin to join). Once you get a smooth ball (somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes) place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. I use the same bowl that I mixed my ingredients together in. Roll the dough around in the bowl to lightly coat the dough with oil. Place a towel over the dough and set aside for an hour and a half to two hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and punch down. Split the dough in half and place on lightly floured surface. Place a towel over the two dough balls and let rest for about 20 minutes. This is when I turn the grill on and begin grilling my vegetables.

I like to grill an array of vegetables. Nothing is off-limits. Eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, fennel, zucchini, for some examples. For my pizza, I used red onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, and tomatoes.
Once you are finished grilling your veggies turn the grill to high and return to your dough. I like to lightly oil the back of a round pizza pan and begin to push the dough towards the outside of the pan starting from the middle. Once the dough is the same size as the pan I am done. (If you rip a hole in the dough while doing this don't fret, you can just push the dough back together). When you have the dough stretched out take it, and the pizza pan, out to the grill. Slide the dough off the pan and on to the grill. Once the dough begins to bubble remove the dough from the grill. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Begin to place your sauce and toppings on the browned side of the dough. I like to use really simple homemade pizza sauces (they are REALLY cheap as well). Those recipes are above.
Once you have placed all your toppings on your pizza (and cooked your other crust half way in the meantime) return your first pizza to the grill. ****Important: Turn your grill to MEDIUM heat and close the top. **** I found that if I did not turn the heat down the crust got a little too.... browned. :-)
When the cheese on your pizza is melted and bubbling you are done. I like to slide my finished pizza on to a baking rack to cool for a minute. This helps the crust not get soggy. Repeat with the other pizza.
Now all you have to do is cut... eat... and enjoy!

Do take caution.... I am almost required to make homemade pizza once a week... It's really. THAT. good.

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