Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pizza on the grill

I will grill pretty much anything.
Especially when it starts to get warm and I don't want to turn on the oven.
Plus some things just taste better from the grill.

For me, pizza is one of these things.

I don't have the money to build a beautiful stone pizza oven in my back yard.
So I improvise. I make pizza on the gas barbecue.

There is no real recipe for this. Just add what you like.

I have made it right on the grill which works fine. You just have to watch it more to make sure the fireis not too high and the crust is not burning.
I recently got a cast iron grill pan (Emeril brand, bought at Bed Bath and Beyond, in case you are looking for one).
One side is ridged to give meats and veggies great grill marks, but solid so small stuff cannot slip through the grate. One side is solid, like a griddle.
I used the solid side for the pizza.
I made pizza last night. Here's what I used and what I did.

Pizza from the grill
1 package of your favorite pizza dough (if you have Trader Joe's near you, they have great
dough in the refrigerator section near the dips and dressings.)

whatever sauce you like, for this one I chose marinara. (again, I used Trader Joe's.)

I also have made pizza with no sauce and with white sauce, such as alfredo.

toppings: use what you like. What did I use last night?
red onion, thinly sliced
brown Italian mushrooms, sliced
shredded mozzarella cheese
dried oregano
grated Parmesan cheese

OK. The pizza cooks fast.
The trick is to have everything ready to go before you start the crust.
Heat the grill to high and let it warm up.
On a lightly floured surface, work the dough by handto stretch it to the size and shape that works for you.
You can stretch it fairly thin, it will contract a bit when cooking.
Mine are oblong since that is the shape of the griddle pan I have.
Get all your ingredients set up near the grill so assembly is quick and easy.

Put dough on griddle pan or grill (if cooking directly on grill, lower heat to medium).
Close the grill and let crust cook, checking every couple minutes.
Cook until crust is as done as you like it.
Remember, this is all about making the perfect pizza for you.
Flip the crust.

Begin adding your toppings.
I layered in this order:
a small amount of cheese
(to give toppings something to stick to)
remaining cheese

Close the lid and cook until cheese is melted and bottom crust is as done as you like it.

Once the pizza is done, remove it to a cutting board and let sit for a couple minutes.
Slice and enjoy.
I added a touch of Parmesan and dried oregano to mine.

Some other tips for making pizza on the grill:
Slice the veggies super thin.
I use a ceramic blade slicer to make paper-thin slices.

If you want chunkier veggies but are worried they won't cook quickly, because the pizza does come together in about 10-15 minutes from start to finish, give the veggies a quick sautee to start them softening.

I do prefer the thinly sliced veggies. They keep their freshness and cook just fine in only a few minutes.

Keep everything close at hand. I had the mushrooms, onion, pepperoni and cheese on my cutting board in little piles and the sauce in a little bowl.

I used the same board to stretch and form the dough before cooking and then to remove the pizza when it was done.
The easiest way to get the pizza off the grill and onto the board is to slide it off onto the board using a big spatula.
If you have an extra set of hands to hold the board, even better.

Experiment. Customize. Mostly, have fun.

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