Grilled Pizza? Why Not.
As a member of Full Circle’s Farm-to-Table delivery, eating fresh organic produce is important to me. By receiving a once a week delivery I get all my ingredients for the week and can structure my meals around what’s fresh and in season. It changed the way I eat and helped me to eat more meals at home at my table with friends and family. It does take some dedication and some planning, but every Wednesday I’ll share with you a recipe that you can easily make from ingredients you can order in your Farm-to-Table box. Join me on Fridays to find out what I’ll be planning for next week’s order.
Well, let me just preface this by saying it works. And actually, the crust is great, the cheese is melted and the ingredients are hot and tasty. But, how do you brown the cheese on the top?
I mean, it’s nice to not have the oven going and seriously, the crust was perfect; crisp, thin and puffy, just like a wood-fired stone oven, but just no browning. And if you don’t mind it, I’d say go for it. It will amaze and delight your guests.
They will ask questions like, “Why?” and “Have you ever done this before?” To which you will calmly reply – “Why not?” and “Sure, a million times!”
Instead of the usual large, 16-inch pizza, I opted for two small 8-inch pies. And since my throwing and rolling pin skills leave a little to be desired they were more oval than round, but this is rustic pizza creation anyway. I kept the toppings simple, pesto and spinach with mozz and parm on one and mushrooms and pepperoni on the other.
And really, we could have ate them right off the grill. Everything was ready to go. But in the pursuit of perfection I did end up tossing them in the oven under a 400 degree broiler for a few minutes just to brown them. Though really that is optional.
Now, I learned two very important things from this experiment. One, pizza dough is awesome on the grill; which leads me to think that just straight up grilled pizza dough, dusted with garlic powder and parm, then cut up table side on the porch and used for dipping in marinara or a creamy pesto would be a perfect summertime appetizer.
And two, that although the cheese on top doesn’t brown, it would make the perfect summer method for making calzones! Because all you need is a hot grill and then you get the perfect grilled crust all over. Next time for sure.
Anyway, here is my method for grilling pizza. If you want to try calzones I’d recommend grilling it with the lid off until one side is crisp, flipping it and then covering to crisp the other side and bake all the goodness inside. And don’t forget to use a lot of coals, the hotter the better, but just watch that pie or calzone like a hawk, it will cook fast.
- 1 pound pizza dough, halved
- 1 cup sauce, pesto or marinara
- 1 1/2 cup toppings, mushrooms, pepperoni, olives
- 2 cups shredded or sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Corn meal
- Start by firing up the coals. Use about one and a half times the usual amount, or one and a half what normally fits in a coal chimney. The hotter the better, but make sure you keep a keen eye on the pie!
- Roll or throw out your dough to the desired size, I found that the smaller ones were easier to manage and we were able to have a variety of toppings. Make sure your dough is room temp before attempting to roll or throw it out, this will make it less elastic and easier to shape.
- When you're ready to make your pie, sprinkle a thin cutting board with cornmeal and place the shaped dough on the board. Spread out your sauce, topping and cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil.
- Make sure your grill is clean and hot. Center the coals and place a single sheet of aluminum foil directly over the coals. This will help to moderate the heat and even out hot spots. Grease the grill a final time and slide on the pizza, the cornmeal will help it roll down onto the grill.
- Cook it until the crust is brown and beginning to crisp and no longer sticks to the grill. Then cover, leaving the vent all the way open. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and ingredients are hot. Remove, let cool slightly, cut and serve.
- Follow the same instructions for calzones, just cook until one side is crisp, then flip cover and cook the other side. And there you have it, grilled pizza!