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Grilled Pizza

Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives and Prosciutto

Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives and Prosciutto

Can you remember the first time you ever had pizza?  If so, it was probably a wonderfully made slice from your local pizzeria.  Just the right amount of sauce, maybe a little grease from the pepperoni dripping down your chin, and of course that long strand of gooey cheese.  Pizza that looks and smells so good that you can’t wait for it to cool and risk burning the roof of your mouth. That’s good pizza!

My first memory of pizza was from a shop on Pittsburgh’s South Side called DeSalla’s which is no longer there.  My mom would often bring some home after a night out at Bingo.  Probably her way of thanking me for putting up with another sitter. DeSalla’s pizza was square and the crust didn’t seem particularly homemade.  The cheese was never fully melted either so I’m not sure it was real cheese.  The sauce was a thin layer with a nice hint of oregano, something I really like.  I ate their pizza on many occasions but looking back on it, it wasn’t really all that good.  But despite my thoughts of it now, I’d still love to have a few slices, just to bring me back to my childhood.  That’s the power of food.

When it was time for me to start high school, the City of Pittsburgh City wanted to better integrate students. So instead of going to a high school in my neighborhood, I was bused about 20 minutes to a neighborhood unfamiliar to me.  I didn’t mind as it allowed me to meet lots of new people and some lifelong friends.  It also allowed me to discover Fiori’s Pizza which remains my favorite to this day.

Fiori’s is located in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood and the only way to describe their pizza it that it is freaking delicious.  A perfect sauce to cheese ratio and an excellent chewy crust.  Magnificent!!  In a city saturated with pizzerias Fiori’s thrives despite the fact that its in a horrible location (parking nightmare), doesn’t have delivery, and only accepts cash.  If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, you have to stop by and “they fix you up.”

While Fiori’s is my favorite for take out, our family likes to experiment with all sorts of pizza’s at home.  This recipe is my grilled pizza.  You can make it over charcoal or gas but the the key is to make it without using a pizza stone to get those wonderful grill marks.

Grilling pizza is easier than you think once you get the technique down.  And after you taste it once, you’ll want to make it over and over again, experimenting with all sorts of different toppings.

The recipe below is for homemade dough, but quite often I’ll go to my local bakery and buy their pizza dough.  It’s only a buck and its very good.  Also, try your local pizzeria, they’ll most likely sell you a ball or two of their dough.

Ingredients (makes 2-12 inch crusts):

Pizza Dough Ingredients

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (plus more for brushing on the dough prior to grilling)
  • 2 tablesppons of sugar
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package of yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water (not hot)
  • Plus ingredients for *toppings

Combine the sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup and let the yeast “bloom”

Yeast getting their eat on

Yeast getting their eat on

In a **food processor add the flour and salt.  Pulse a few times to combine.

Then, with processor on dough setting, slowly add the yeast mixture until its incorporated with the flour.  Drizzle in olive oil.

Mixing the dough

Mixing the dough

When you have a good ball, take it out and place in a large bowl.

Formed ball

Formed ball

Coat the ball in olive oil and cover with a warm damp towel.  Place the bowl in a warm place (I put it on top of my stove under the lights from the range hood) and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour or so.

The yeast were working overtime on this

The yeast were working overtime on this

When the dough has finished rising, divide the dough in half to form 2 same sized balls.

Working one dough ball at a time, place on floured or oiled surface and work the dough to the shape of a pizza.  It doesn’t have to be perfect — its homemade, it should look rustic.

Beginning to look like pizza

Beginning to look like pizza

Meanwhile, preheat your grill to at least 500 degrees (over direct heat if using charcoal but set it up the grill with a cool zone). After grill is preheated, brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the dough from sticking.

HOT

HOT

When your dough is ready, place it on a pizza peel.  (if you don’t have one its going to be tricky but still can be done by placing your dough on the bottom of a baking tray pan (i.e. cookie sheet).

Almost ready to grill

Almost ready to grill

Brush the top of the dough liberally with olive oil.

Brushed down with olive oil

Brushed down with olive oil

Place your dough on the grill, oil side down (I do this by quickly flipping my peel over on to the grill – if you don’t have a peel, carefully but quickly lay the dough on the grill by grabbing it by the top and folding it on to the grill).  Immediately brush the top (the dry side) with olive oil.

Directly on the grate oil side down

Directly on the grate oil side down

After about 2 minutes, flip the dough to cook the other side.

Nice Grill Marks

Nice Grill Marks

Add your toppings to the cooked side, and lower your grill burners as low as they will go.  Close the lid of your grill to heat your toppings/melt cheese.  If using a charcoal grill,  you’ll want to cook the second side of the pizza over direct heat then add toppings and move to the cool side to finish.

Topped and ready to finish

Topped and ready to finish. Remember to lower the burners, or even turn 1 or 2 off

Remove from grill.  Wait a few minutes before slicing (you won’t want to wait) and enjoy!

Wait

You won’t want to wait

*Pre-cooking any raw toppings such as sausage is essential as grilling pizza does now allow time to properly cook certain toppings.  Veggies such as green peppers would also benefit from a pre-cook.

** If you don’t have a food processor, this can also be done in a stand mixer or old fashioned kneading with your hands.  

When I make grilled pizza’s, the family and I try all sorts of topping combinations.  Our favorites include:

Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives & Prosciutto (pictured at top)

Sausage and Banana Peppers

Sausage and Banana Peppers (only half because not everyone likes the peppers)

BBQ Chicken, Carmalized Onions and Gouda

BBQ Chicken, Carmalized Onions and Smoked Gouda

Prosciutto and Mushroom

Prosciutto and mushroom (we really like prosciutto on our grilled pizzas)

Margherita Pizza

Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella (Pizza Margherita )

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  1. August 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

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