Monday, January 19, 2009

Grilled Pizza

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Grilled Pizza, sounds mysterious to a large number of folks. It is currently our favorite company food when we have a group of parents and kids. We grilled away on New Year's Eve for a group of 25 with great success.
The dough is the great beginning. You have to begin a day early for Alton Brown's pizza dough, but it is worth the wait. The recipe is a little long, so I have the link and my notes here. If you are interested in whole grains, feel free to substitute half the flour with whole wheat.

The recipe makes 2 pizzas. I find when we have a group, it is easier to make individual pizzas, after all doesn't everyone have their favorite topping? One batch of Alton's dough will make about 6 individual ones. And my theory is, if you're going to go to all that trouble, double the recipe. Follow it exactly to the rolling out section.
You will find that the dough is especially springy. If you plan far enough ahead, you can make all the little discs of dough, and stack them on floured wax paper. The flour is VERY important. Then simply freeze the crusts in large Ziplocs. I take them out while the grill is heating on high, and pop them apart with my bench scraper. If they are floured properly, the wax paper will peel right off. Let them rest on a floured board, and within minutes you can re roll the crust and stretch to the desired size. It works exceptionally well.

Turn the grill down to medium high and brush a little olive oil on it and simply slide the dough from the pizza peel or cookie sheet onto the hot grates. Generous dustings of flour or cornmeal will keep things slick. Once it hits the grill, close the lid and it will begin to puff. Within minutes, the top will be bubbly and the bottom browning. Slide it onto a spatula and back onto the peel, upside down. Now, top the pizza with whatever floats your boat on the side that was just grilled.

Then back to the grill, slide it back on and close the lid. Let the crust cook and the cheese melt, and you are ready! We can fit 4 individual pizzas on the grill at a time. Keep a vigilant eye however, because they go from cooked to black quickly!
The toppings are always a fun selection. Of course pepperoni, and I found these tiny mini ones at Costco, cooked Italian sausage, mushroom, onions, peppers you know the routine. But how about the fun things like jerk chicken, fresh jalapenos, green olives, pineapple, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, and fresh herbs?
The sauce is my favorite part, and I simply cook down those enormous cans of San Marzano tomatoes from Costco for hours and add spices, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and then use my immersion blender to make it smooth. It gets better as time goes on, and the leftovers are great on pasta! Besides the usual grated mozzarella, try fresh slices, grated parmigiana, provolone or even Fontina for a really rich pizza. You are limited by only your imagination.
Try it on your family first, and see how the order of events goes, and you'll see how much fun this is with a group. Believe me, they will all leave with the recipe and be awed that you ever attempted this! Buon Appetito!

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