The kids are back in school, the grilling season is over for most (bite your tongue), and as I’m fond of saying, it’s now time to start getting ready for next summer!
My wife and kids are thrilled that the season of the pumpkin is among us, and I guess to a certain extent I’m pretty excited for the treats that come to us in the fall. Pumpkin ‘everything’ from latte to coffee to pie to cookies to cakes to cake pops to white-chocolate truffles to…
I just went into sugar overload just writing that.
Shaking myself out of my hypochondriacal diabetic fit, I get back to the task at hand, which is having a little fun making a special treat on the grill; grilled pizza.
I wrote about grilled Piadina years ago, the little Italian sandwich squeezed in a mini-grilled pizza crust, and this is just the grown-up version.
Simply make some pizza dough (preferably well- ahead of time) and roll it out. Here comes the tricky part, but after you do it a few times, you’ll see how easy it is. You will need a pizza peel or flat sheet of some kind so you can put your perfect circle on it and then transfer it to the grill by shimmying it off. That’s it.
Now for a word on the dough, the best advice that I can give you is to use the Old Dough Method. This method implies that you have pizza on the docket on a regular enough basis that it makes sense. Simply take a chunk of today’s dough and save it until the next time. Freezing is acceptable if there will be a good bit of time in between batches.
Add this chunk to the new batch, and continue this method for all eternity. After a dozen batches, your dough will take on a life of its own and you will be the envy of all of your baking friends as they try to recreate your masterpiece.
It is similar to making a good remouillage (‘remi’) when you make stocks. After you make a stock, you drain it and then top the bones and spent vegetables with water and simmer for a few hours. Strain this and start your next batch with this, and so on and so forth.
In this way are remouillage and old dough similar. Developing flavor over time is an overly simplistic task, but it takes great patience and a certain amount of planning. Many of us simply don’t have the facilities at home to accommodate this type of activity. We just have to do the best that we can.
For now I will stave off the pumpkin ‘everything’ and stick with the grilled pie. We are only weeks away from being inundated with holiday sweets, and I shall remain strong.
Makes four 10-inch pizzas
2 pounds Pizza dough*
1/2-3/4 cups Pizza sauce
Cheese blend (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan)
1. Make your dough a day or two ahead of time. If you are able to use the Old Dough Method, do so!
2. When you are ready to make the pizza, pull the dough out and divide into 4 equal 8-ounce pieces
3. Form them into balls and then allow to rest on a floured surface, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel, for half an hour
4. While the dough is resting, turn your grill onto medium heat and season if it is a bit rusty since its last use
5. Roll the dough out and form a circle, and then toss the dough to make your 10-inch diameter
6. Dock the dough (poke holes in the center) to prevent the main portion of the pizza from bubbling up
7. If you have a pizza peel, you can use cornmeal on it to prevent the dough from sticking
8. Place your dough on the peel and transfer it to the grill surface so as to maintain its round nature
9. Grill for about a minute or until it sets up. You will start to see bubbles on the surface
10. Making sure that you don’t burn the pizza crust, carefully flip the dough over. I use a palate knife for this (a big, long, thin spatula)
11. Grill for another minute or two and then remove to a pizza pan
12. Top your pizza with the sauce and cheese. If you’re like me (well, me on occasion), you will also have sautéed mushrooms, blanched and drained spinach or bacon bits laying around so use whatever you want. It’s your pizza!
13. Place back on the grill and close the lid. If the grill is too hot, turn off the burners on one half and place the pizza there. This indirect method (with the lid closed) will act much more like an oven instead of a char-broiler, leaving you with a perfect crust and nice, gooey toppings
14. Remove and serve immediately
*Use any pizza dough recipe that you like, but a great tip is to make it a day ahead. The more that the bread can sit and develop, the better the flavors will be. Just make sure to punch it down and refrigerate, covered. For today’s pizza, I went by the Fleishmann’s recipe on the back of their Pizza Crust Yeast, but there are plenty of recipes out there.