Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Friday, October 26, 2007

Grilling Pizza

My latest adventure in grilling has been pizza’s on the BBQ.  Pizza has become yet another way to use up odds and ends of cheese, vegetables, and cured meat at our house (along with pasta, salads and soup).  But it does heat up the kitchen in the summer (the A/C can keep up with baking most things, but not a 475F oven).  And its not great for doing more than one or two since they take 12 minutes each to cook.  I was considering buying a grill pizza stone from Williams-Sonoma, but after checking on the Chowhound board, it seemed possible to cook right on the grill.  So I started to experiment…first on my self (lunch at home… I love this sabbatical thing, the loud crying you hear on Nov 5 will be me going back to work), then Roy, then on unsuspecting relatives in New Jersey… where I made 6.

So, to start, I use my basic Pizza dough (see below..  its really quick with the Cuisinart).    Here’s the basic technique (and tricks):

1. Get your toppings ready..  have by the grill when you start to cook.  On toppings… I usually use olive oil (no tomato-based sauce, but you can), some herbs (like basil), a “melting cheese” (think mozzarella or fontina) plus a flavor cheese (parmesan or goat or peccorino), plus a couple toppings of choice… salami, onions, eggplant, bell pepper, olives, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms.  The important thing is not too much or too many toppings.  Too much and the bottom is burnt before the top is done, too many and the bottom burns before you are done getting toppings on (but… if you really want 6 different things or are just slow, you can take the pie off grill, put on the toppings, and then back on).

2. Roll the dough thin, going for a 12 – 14 “ pizza.  Don’t worry about perfection, square-ish pieces fit better on the grill.  When you are done, roll onto a piece of parchment paper to help support the dough to get it on the grill.  If you are doing multiples, just stack them up. 

3. The grill should be at medium / medium high depending (good and hot, but not nuclear hot).

4. Flop a piece of dough directly on the grill (no need to oil, but you can), peel off paper, close the lid, and wait 3 minutes.  You can do 2 at time.

5. Check to make sure the bottom is nicely brown, then flip the dough with tongs (it has enough structure by this point to do easily).  Brush with olive oil, add herbs, cheese, toppings.  Close the lid, cook for another 4 minutes or so.  Its done when the bottom is brown and cheese melted…  it the cheese is not melted, its done anyway if the bottom is brown.  Pull the pizza off (tongs work) on to a plate or tray.  Slice and eat!

Figure 1 pizza per person it they are hungry…  less for polite eaters or if there is lots of other food. 

For a party..  the dough gets soft and puffy and hard to get on the grill if you let it sit after rolling.  I would recommend putting in the fridge if you are looking at more than 20 minutes between rolling and cooking, you might also try pre-cooking the one side and setting aside (I have read about this, but never attempted)
Also – you can just cook the bread (no toppings), add a little olive oil and salt when you are done for a nice bread side dish. 

Pizza Dough.      Cook pizza at 475 F.  This also is good for calzone’s.
Makes 1 ¾ pound dough – enough for 2 pizza’s (in the oven) or 3 pizza’s (on the grill)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ¼ cup warm water (105 – 115 oF)
3 1/3 cup flour  (ok to replace up to 1 cup with whole wheat flour)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for bag

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let stand until foamy – about 3 – 5 minutes.  Coat inside of large zip-loc baggie with oil.

Insert dough blade in work bowl of food processor and add four, salt and oil, then mix.

With machine running on dough speed, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour will absorb it.  Process until dough cleans sides of work bowl and forms a ball, then process for 30 seconds to knead dough.  Dough will be a little sticky.  Put into baggie and seal.  Let rise for about 45 minutes.

Note: Dough freezes well.  Put ½ of dough in quart baggies (coated w/ oil) and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, let sit out ~ ½ hour before using.  It will also keep in the refrigerator for several days.

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