IT’S GRILLING SEASON! Is Grilled Pizza on your menu? If not, we have the perfect recipe for you to try.
June first is the unofficial start to so many of the best things in life. There’s wildflowers and evenings that are sunlit, outdoor farmers’ markets and driving with the windows open. June brings morning coffee that’s best taken outside. Our yard springs full of dandelions right now and I love the yellow blooms. But maybe best of all is the arrival of grill season, when nearly every dinner is cooked outside.
Sure, we grill through the year, when the yearning for a thick steak with crisp char or a simple hot dog strikes, but when it’s freezing, we keep it to the oven, the one that will warm the kitchen as it cooks our dinner. But now? Now we have an open back door, easy-breezy nights and what feels like forever (though we know that in a blink, summer will be gone.) So we grill, and then we sit outside and eat. What better way to celebrate and bask in a warm evening?
One of our favorite grilled foods is pizza. Sounds weird, I know. If you haven’t done it, you might think the dough would sink between the grates and make a horrible mess. It doesn’t. The dough cooks perfectly, with a smoky, deeply browned crust. You stretch the dough just like you would for an oven, grill for a few minutes, leaving one side less done. Put your toppings on the more-cooked side and return it to the grill, to finish cooking the bottom and make the cheese melty. Make smaller pies so that everyone can make their own.
What you put on the pizza is highly individual and in our house, everyone thinks theirs is the best. The teenage boy piles his high with pepperoni. Zoe puts the cheese on after cooking. Luca puts kimchi on his pizza. My husband only likes a little bit of sauce and I absolutely love pizza with chopped dill pickles strewn about the top. I say anything goes, and a combination of salty, creamy and crunchy toppings is a good bet.
When they’re hot off the grill, serve them up with a green salad and a cold drink. They taste best, of course, when eaten outside.
Grilled Pizza, Any Way You Like it
- Fresh pizza dough, homemade or purchased (see note)
- Olive oil
- Pizza sauce (recipe follows)
- For toppings: Shredded or fresh mozzarella, feta cheese, pepperoni, grilled onion, any grilled vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, peppers, etc), spinach, olives, pepperoncini, pickles, pesto and anything else that sounds good to you.
Instructions for Grilling Pizza
- Light the grill to medium, then clean and generously oil the grates.
- Coat the dough liberally with olive oil and gently stretch each half to approximately 9 inches. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle.
- Lay the dough on the grill and cook without moving for 4-5 minutes.
- When the bottom has deep brown grill marks and is charred in places, flip it.
- Cook on the other side for only a minute.
- Remove from the grill to a baking sheet and on the side that’s more cooked.
- Spread toppings according to your taste.
- Return to the grill and cook until the bottom is browned and charred in spots, and the cheese is melted.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two. Then slice and serve.
Note: I cut one-pound pizza dough into two pieces and each piece feeds one person generously. Any leftovers are great in lunchboxes.
PIZZA SAUCE RECIPE
(makes about 3 cups)
- 1 can peeled whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mash with a potato masher for a chunky sauce, or use an immersion blender or food processor for a smoother consistency.
This will keep in the refrigerator for one week. Freezes for up to six months
Caroline Barrett writes about food and families. She teaches cooking classes at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Albany. You can find her at www.carolinebarrett.com.
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