Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recipe tip: Grilled pizza

I know I've been doing a lot of recipe posts lately. It's because, with summer, Matt and I have greater chances of cooking at home frequently, plus we're trying to account for the fact that we're going to eat at restaurants in Italy and Spain for three weeks. So, we're saving money by cooking almost everything at home.

When we moved into our house three and a half years ago, Matt was thrilled to get a grill. We got a reliable Weber propane grill from Craigslist for $100, and we couldn't be happier. Not only do we grill fish, chicken, veggies, and the occasional burgers and dogs, but for the past couple of years we've been grilling pizza regularly.

Our friends are usually impressed with the finished pizza product, so I figured it was finally time to reveal a step-by-step grilled pizza how-to so that you can try your hand at some grilled pizza this summer.

Disclaimer: Making grilled pizza from scratch (aka making your own dough) does require some advanced planning, but it's something you can easily accomplish if you get home from work two hours before you want to eat OR you make the dough the night before.

Making the dough
Matt is our resident dough expert, so I had him walk me through the process the other night when we enjoyed our latest installment of grilled pizza.

Step 1: Mix the yeast with water. Let sit according to package instructions.

Step 2: In a large bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 3: Add yeast mixture to dry mixture. Mix together. Mixture will be wet. Continue to add flour one half cup at a time until dough has enough flour that it no longer sticks to the edges of the bowl. This means the final dough batter will have between 2 and 3 cups of flour.

Step 4: Spread about 1/4 cup of flour on a baking mat. Transfer the dough to the mat.

 Step 5: Begin kneading the dough. Rotate the dough ball as you knead. Add additional flour to prevent sticking as needed. This process takes approximately 5 minutes.

Step 6: Turn the pancake-shaped dough into a ball. Return the ball of dough to the original mixing bowl (after it has been rinsed out). Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on top of the dough and make some you use the ball of dough to coat the bowl in olive oil. (You do this because the dough is going to rise soon, and you don't want it to stick to the edges of the bowl.)

Step 7: Cover the bowl with a dish towel and place the dough in a dark, cool place. We place our dough in the microwave and allow it to rise for at least one hour. The dough will double in size.

Step 8: Punch dough down and let is rise again for at least 10 minutes.

Step 9: Remove your finished dough ball from the bowl, and roll it out into two medium-large pizza pies. (We like our crust thin. When rolled out, each pie takes up most of a cookie sheet.)
Look how much I've grown!

When you're ready to make the pizza on the grill, heat the grill to as hot as it will go (which is between 500-600 degrees for our grill). We have a pizza stone that we keep inside the grill while it's heating up.

On the side of the grill without the pizza stone, place the dough directly on the grates for approximately one minute. (You will know it's ready when the side of the dough not touching the grill begins bubbling.)

Flip the dough, place the dough on the stone, then add the sauce and toppings.

Cover the grill for between 2 and 5 minutes, depending on how thick the dough is and how hot the grill is.

The other night our toppings of choice were cured, pitted olives, prosciutto, tomatoes, mozzarella, and then basil and thyme from our herb garden (but don't add fresh herbs until you're done cooking on the grill).

I have to say that for some reason I liked this pizza more than any other pizza we've made, and we've made a lot of pizza. I think the crust this time was especially crispy, and the toppings were right up my alley.

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