6.23.2008

Grilled Pizza




When we moved to our single family home last year, we wanted to immediately make use of our cozy little backyard. So, one of our first purchases was a charcoal grill. Summer Sundays are for grilling at our house! Pizza being my favorite food, I really wanted to learn how to make a grilled pizza. Turns out it’s a lot easier than I thought…although, I let Neil handle the grilling part with my supervision :)

The end result of a light, smoky, crisp, yet chewy crust is the closest you’ll have to the high end pizzerias in our area. The key is in the high heat provided by a grill. It seems like a daunting task, but if you work quickly enough, and pay attention, it’s very simple. If you do grilled pizza research on the web, you’ll find that grilling experts have 3 steps: sear the crust, add your toppings, and then cover to cook your toppings. I’ve elaborated on those steps below, but then included my own variation on the steps.

First you have to get your unbaked crust ready and toppings ready to go. That means you should have all of your toppings ready to go in small bowls right next to the grill (salt, pepper, cheese, olive oil, etc). I do all the prep work. Then Neil gets the grill to a high temperature. I gently slide the crust on to the grill off of a pizza paddle right next to the flame (but not directly on top of the flame). Neil moves it on and off the flame depending on how fast it’s bubbling and puffing up. This process is only a few minutes. Once it’s puffed up, it’s time to flip the crust over. You have to work quickly. We burned our first one pretty bad! So, if it’s your first time, make extra dough to practice. Once you do, you’ll know the limits of your grill and have the technique down.

After your crust is flipped over, move it to a cooler part of your grill (away from the flame). This will allow you some time to top it and finish the cooking without burning. Once your toppings are on, cover the grill so, the cheese can melt. Keep checking the underside of the crust though to ensure that it’s not burning. Of course if it isn’t browning enough, slide it over to the hotter part of the grill. Once toppings cooked/melted and your crust is nicely crisp and chewy, transfer to your pizza stone (or whatever you plan to cut on). Always give a nice drizzle of olive oil for taste and presentation. Slice and eat!!

So, this is the general method for grilling pizza. However, I’ve been switching up the technique lately. If you notice from the picture above, when you initially put the crust on your grill, it puffs up beautifully. But, once you flip it, those puffs and air pockets are all gone. So, I don’t flip it anymore. I just grill one side to nice pillowy puffs, remove from the grill onto a pizza stone, and top it. Then I transfer it to my broiler to cook the toppings and crust all the way through. I like the end result of this method better, but you decide what works best for you.

Btw, the pizza as pictured is topped with a homemade tomato sauce, roasted peppers, red onions, salami, fresh mozzarella, and parmesan…AKA, the “Norcia” at 2 Amys. If you missed my earlier post for pizza crust, I’ve provided the link below.


See Pizza Crust Recipe!

3 comments:

Christina said...

Do you have a good recipe for a quick pizza sauce? I'd like to make pizza tonight to go with those wings I asked about earlier :)

Sonal said...

Hi Christina,

I usually make a sauce w/ a base of carrot, onion, celery, and garlic. The celery isn't necessary, but the carrots add a nice sweetness. I chop and sautee that in o.o, and then add cans of crushed tomatoes, salt/pepper, basil, and bay leaves. I simmer, remove the bay leaves at the end and puree the sauce. Taste for seasonings, and add salt/pepper, and even sugar as needed. I use brown sugar to cut the acidity. Hope that helps!

Christina said...

Thanks for all the tips!