Saturday, May 21, 2011

Grilled Pizza with Friends

Tonight we entertained friends and celebrated the first signs of summer.  Grilled Pizza is a recipe we discovered last summer in an issue of Cook’s Country and it quickly became a family favorite.  It’s the kind of family favorite that The Rev and I kinda don’t want to share it with the kids.  It’s that good.  And it’s pretty easy.  It’s also meatless, which is a big reason why I chose it for tonight.  One of our guests is vegetarian.  I try to do a meatless meal every week, but this week I had already done meatless—spaghetti and sauce on Tuesday.  I have a widening repertoire of meatless meals, but they have a couple if things in common.  I have quite a few pasta dishes we like, but we just did pasta.  Mexican is pretty easy to do meatless, but we just had Mexican on Wednesday.  A couple of soups I love are easy to do meatless, but the weather today just didn’t say, “Soup!”  Same for homemade mac and cheese (and we had that the last time these friends visited anyway.)  I was getting a little desperate when I thought of the grilled pizza.  It’s not ideal for entertaining, but these are the kind of friends who don’t mind sitting on the back porch and watching the kids play in the yard while pizza after delicious pizza comes fresh off the grill.
At our house, The Rev is the grill master, so this is a recipe we tag-team.  I do most of the prep (although he’s joined me in the kitchen for that part before) and he does the hard work at the grill.  I realized last night that this dinner is the equivalent to brinner (breakfast for dinner)—when I’m making brinner, I don’t sit down to eat until the end, and the same is true for The Rev with this one.  But we all hung out on the back porch together and had a great time talking and watching the kids play.  I also made a Mixed Greens Salad, so we had something to munch on while waiting for the pizza to come off the grill.
Our family easily devours one batch of this recipe, so I doubled it, making the dough in the food processor in two batches so as not to overload it.  We actually had one pizza round left, so we cooked it untopped and we’re going to see how it keeps.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  The pizza tastes great right off the grill, so if you can, eat it that way; don’t try to hold it in the oven.  In the interest of peace, we made two pizzas for the kids and fed them first.  The kids don’t really care for the raw sauce in this recipe, so we just use regular pizza sauce for them.  They also get shredded mozzarella, but Aldi carries fresh mozzarella year-round now, so we slice that and use it for the grown-ups.  Tomatoes on the vine were on sale for an incredible $0.99 a pound at Aldi this week, so I went half-and-half, because I didn’t quite trust the taste of out-of-season tomatoes.   The recipe in the magazine had instructions for using fresh tomatoes; basically, you just need to core, seed, and dice them, salt generously to draw out the excess fluid, and let drain for about 15 minutes.  For a single recipe they call for 1 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes.  I went with 1 pound fresh and 1 can diced for the double recipe, keeping in mind we’d be making a couple of pizzas for the kids with regular sauce.
Quick Grilled Pizza
from Cook’s Country, August 2010
Makes four 9-inch pizzas
Don’t move the dough during the first minute of grilling or it will tear. Keep the first batch of cooked pizzas warm on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet in a 200-degree oven. If you like pepperoni, arrange 2 ounces pepperoni slices over each pizza after you’ve topped it with sauce.


(14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes , drained well
cup  water, heated to 110 degrees
tablespoons chopped fresh basil  
tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ,
plus additional for brushing dough
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
tablespoon  sugar 
garlic cloves, minced
envelope (2 ¼  tsp.) instant or rapid-rise yeast 
teaspoon salt 
2 ¾
cups all-purpose flour , plus additional as needed
teaspoon salt 
2 ½

1. MAKE SAUCE Combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
2. PREPARE DOUGH Whisk water, 1 tablespoon oil, sugar, and yeast in large liquid measuring cup. Let sit 5 minutes. Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined. With machine running, slowly pour in water mixture and process until dough pulls away from sides and forms shaggy ball, about 1 minute. (If dough seems too sticky, add up to 2 tablespoons more flour.) Turn dough onto floured work surface and knead 3 or 4 times until cohesive.
3. SHAPE PIZZA Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, press into small circle. Using rolling pin, roll and stretch dough to form 9-inch circle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and dust dough with flour. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking each round on floured parchment.
4. HEAT GRILL Meanwhile, heat all burners on high, covered, for 15 -minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium-low. (For charcoal grill, light about 100 coals; when they are covered with fine gray ash, spread over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, with lid vent open completely, for 5 minutes.) Scrape and oil cooking grate.
5. GRILL PIZZA Brush tops of 2 dough rounds lightly with oil. Peel rounds off parchment and place, oiled side down, on cool side of grill. Grill, covered, until undersides are spotty brown and tops are covered with bubbles, poking large -bubbles with tongs, 3 to 5 minutes. Brush each lightly with oil and flip. Top each round with one-quarter sauce and one-quarter mozzarella. Grill, covered, until undersides are spotty brown and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Move pizzas to hot side of grill to crisp, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining rounds. Serve.

(If you'd like step-by-step pictures of the process, you can find them by searching for this recipe on Cook's Country.  You'll either need a subscription to the website, or you can sign up for a 14-day free trial.)

On the grill

Just before toppings are added

Bon appetit!
We experimented with toppings a bit.  I sliced some mushrooms and green pepper very thin and The Rev cooked them on the hot side of the grill on heavy-duty foil.  It tasted great but next time I will pre-cook them.  It was a little too much juggling for him to try to cook them on the grill, although he said if we had one of those grills with a burner on the side, it would be easy to do them that way.
If you follow my menu-planning page, you know I had planned to serve strawberries and angel food cake for dessert.  That will have to wait for another night because our friends brought dessert—individual peanut butter and banana cakes with vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

1 comment:

  1. This one was YUMMY and super easy! Thanks for sharing - next time we are going to grill some chicken and veggies for toppings.